News Africa

Saturday 23 August 2014

Uncle says it was 'unwise' for Pistorius to visit club

Aislinn Laing

Published 17/07/2014 | 02:30

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Oscar Pistorius during his murder trial at the Pretoria High Court. Photo credit: Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Oscar Pistorius during his murder trial at the Pretoria High Court. Photo credit: Alon Skuy/The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Oscar Pistorius's family admitted yesterday that his decision to go to a nightclub while on trial for murder was "unwise", but said that he did so because the Paralympian has an "escalating sense of loneliness and alienation" that is causing "self-harming behaviour".

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Leo Pistorius, the 27-year-old's uncle, denounced as "outrageous" claims that the athlete insulted Jacob Zuma, the South African president, and boasted about his relations' influence over the government in the run-up to a scuffle that caused him to be ejected from a Johannesburg nightclub at the weekend.

He said the claims made by Jared Mortimer, a racing car driver and clothes label owner who was also at Sandton's VIP Room on Saturday, were "designed for maximum attention and maximum damage".

He added that Pistorius was "grappling with an extreme level of emotional pain that is manifesting itself in some of his recent unwise actions and choices".

Percy Mermigas, the club's manager, told South Africa's 'Times' newspaper: "I was sitting with him (Pistorius) and his cousin at their table. They were there for an hour and there was definitely no 'altercation' as this person is making out. He was chilling with his cousin, nothing more and nothing less."

Mr Mortimer told a South African celebrity news website that Pistorius had boasted to him of his family's influence and bad-mouthed his friends while poking him in the chest and pulling at his neck.

He said the athlete was drunk and fell over backwards into a chair when he pushed him away.

"He was going on about how influential his family is and how connected they are," he told 'The Juice' website.

"He said 'My family owns SANDF (South African National Defence Force). Zuma works for us. I'll p*** on Zuma'."

A spokesman for Pistorius has said that Mr Mortimer "aggressively interrogated him" on matters relating to his murder trial.

He denies murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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