Inside Oscar's bedroom: One cricket bat, baseball bat, revolver and machine gun
Weapons needed to protect home in country plagued by violent crimeMore than 7,000 ‘home invasion robberies’ carried out in 2011Pistorius told Sportsmail of worries about home robberyGuards patrol Pistorius’ home ‘but sometimes are in on crimes’Tragic incident in a life marked by poignancy, heartache and triumph
, arrested after his model girlfriend is shot dead at his home
Click here to read the full tragic story
But most bone-freezing are what are
called home invasion robberies. They are preferably carried out when the
occupant is in, meaning the alarm is off and the intruders can be told
where the valuables are kept.
In 2011, the year I visited Oscar, there were 7,039 reported home invasion robberies in the Gauteng Province alone – the area that covers Johannesburg and Pretoria, the cities in which he was born and lived.
Yes, he is hidden away on the Silverwoods estate on the eastern outskirts of Pretoria and is armed by guards round the clock, but as he told me: ‘The problem is when the guards are in on the crime. ‘It’s usually safe in guarded estates like this until that happens.’
It is from this crazy world that somehow Pistorius reportedly shot dead his girlfriend whom he had mistaken for an intruder in the early hours of this morning. Initial reports claim that she was trying to surprise him for Valentine’s Day.
Bachelor pad: Pistorius invited Sportsmail into his home in Pretoria for an interview and look around
Sportsmail at home with Pistorius
on the links below to read Sportsmail's brilliant interviews with one
of the heroes of last year's Olympic and Paralympic Games:
JONATHAN MCEVOY's poignant interview at home with Pistorius in Pretoria last yearWhat
makes Pistorius tick LAURA WILLIAMSON went walking on the wild side
with the Blade Runner in his hometown Pretoria last year…
And here's the Blade Runner, in his own words, on his pride at competing in the London 2012 Games:
Oscar Pistorius: I'm so proud, it will be amazing to run in London
Whatever the truth of the incident –
which leaves the most famous amputee athlete in history under arrest and
facing court later today – it is another horribly sad chapter in a life
marked by poignancy, heartache and triumph.
Carl Lennard Pistorius, born in Johannesburg on November 22, 1986, was a
beautiful baby. Though it was not spotted at first, his father Henk and
mother Sheila soon noticed that their boy’s feet were malformed. He had
been born without fibula in either leg.
fighting spirit of the Pistorius family kicked in. ‘It was clear,’ said
Oscar, ‘that in their minds my parents would do whatever it was going
to take to find a solution.’ Doctors were sought, no matter what the
cost, to find the best solution.
Amputation was the chosen cure and
the young Oscar grew up walking on stumps. Later when he went to school,
his brother would put on his shoes; he would put on his prosthetic
legs. Simple as that. Me, different No way.
A man of many talents: The Blade Runner is a keen musician and a car, boat and motorbike junkie
Play time: Pistorius with his dogs Enzo (black and white) and Silo (brown)
His relationship with his father was a sometimes difficult one and, so far as I know, that remains the case. His relationship with his mother, on the other hand, was his inspiration.
Sheila, a devout Christian, died when
Oscar was 15 and she was 42. The date she was born and the date she
died, of an allergic reaction to medication having being wrongly
diagnosed with hepatitis, are tattooed on the inside of Oscar’s arm.
London calling: Pistorius at the gym with trainer Jannie preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games
In the kitchen of his bachelor flat is a small gold gong and a pig-fat mallet. ‘We’d run when she hit that,’ Oscar smiled.
The very first page of his biography starts with the words: '”The real loser is never the person who crosses the finishing line last. The real loser is the person who sits on the side, the person who does not even try to compete.” My mother wrote those words to me when I was still a small baby, about five months before my surgeons performed my bilateral amputation.
'She kept the letter for me to read as an adult.'
Sportsmail famously captured pictures of Pistorius alongside a Cheetah in Pretoria
Self-pity was eschewed and this sports-mad boy threw himself at rugby and cricket. A speed freak and adrenaline junky, he rode motor bikes, boats and cars like James Bond.
‘To tell you the truth,’ he continued in his book, Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner, ‘I don’t think of myself as disabled. I have limits, but we all have limits and like anyone else I also have many talents.
‘This attitude is integral to how my family approaches life and their philosophy has made me the man I am today: “This is Oscar Pistorius, exactly as he should be. Perfect in himself.”
He set out to be an athlete. Not a disabled athlete. And so his remarkable journey to become the first amputee sprinter in Olympic history at the London Games last summer was the towering achievement of his life. It was a stressful journey and occasionally at such times his usual friendly disposition could give way to surliness.
Making history: Pistorius ran in – and qualified from – the 400m heats at London 2012
But make it to London he did as one of the poster boys of the Games, a figure known to people of every colour around the world. Time magazine named him as one of the world’s 100 most influential people.
He qualified for the 400 metres semi-final in which he came last, and helped South Africa to eighth place in the 4x400m relay. He carried the South African flag at the closing ceremony, a recognition of his totemic significance.
A day none of us will forget: Jonnie Peacock (second left) beats Pistorius (right) to gold in the 100m – T44 final
… but Pistorius celebrated winning gold in the men's 400m – T44 final at the Paralympic Games
It was, therefore, a shame that he let himself down by complaining at the length of the blades being used by Alan Oliveira, the Brazilian who beat him in the Paralympic 200m final a few weeks later. It was ironic because Oscar had waged a campaign over the legality of his own blades when competing against able-bodied opponents.
I wrote that he was in the wrong and anyway he swiftly apologised for his heat-of-the-moment indiscretion. He harboured no resentment at my criticism and when I chanced upon him at the British Olympic Association Ball in November he flung his arms around me.
That was the last I saw or thought of him until the phone rang this morning and I was told that on that estate, in that house Oscar Pistorius had allegedly shot his girlfriend dead.