Wednesday 21 March 2018

Pistorius family deny athlete was 'coached' by an actor

Oscar Pistorius reacts as he listens to forensic evidence being given in court in Pretoria
Oscar Pistorius reacts as he listens to forensic evidence being given in court in Pretoria
Aimee and Lois Pistorius listen to Oscar during cross examination in the Pretoria High Court. Photo: Getty Images
Oscar Pistorius during his trial.

Maria Tadeo

The Pistorius family has denied in the "strongest terms" that the athlete took acting classes in preparation for his murder trial, following accusations that he was 'coached' by a professional actor.

In an open letter, British-born columnist Jani Allan accused him of faking his courtroom tantrums and described the athlete, who is accused of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year, as a "faux hero".

"I have it from a reliable source that you are taking acting lessons for your days in court," Ms Allan wrote. "Your coach has an impossible task."

She continued: "Oscar, I look at you mewling and puking in the witness stand. You truly represent everything the West loathes about white South Africans who live extravagant lives."

Anneliese Burgess, a spokeswoman for the Pistorius family, dismissed Ms Allan's letter as a "mockery of the enormous human tragedy involving the Steenkamp family and our client and his family".

She added: "We deny in the strongest terms the contents of her letter in as far it relates to our client and further deny that our client has undergone any acting lessons or any form of emotional coaching."

Ms Burgess said Ms Allan, who claims to have sources close to the athlete, has never met Pistorius and described any knowledge she professes to have of him as "fictitious".

Pistorius is accused of murdering Ms Steenkamp following a domestic dispute. He claims he shot and killed her in a case of mistaken identity, thinking she was an intruder. The trial resumes on May 5. (© Independent News Service)

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