Oscar Pistorius, the South African Paralympian track star facing charges of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, is a broken man contemplating suicide, according to one of his friends.
Britain’s Mirror tabloid reported Sunday that BBC will air Monday a documentary in which Pistorius’ friend Mike Azzi alleges the fallen idol is also selling many of his belongings -- including one of his racehorses and other property -- to pay his exorbitant legal bills. According to reports, Pistorius has already incurred legal costs of at least £200,000 ($300,000), and such fees will only escalate after his premeditated murder trial commences.
“There is no confidence in his tone of voice,” Azzi reportedly said in the documentary entitled “Oscar Pistorius: What Really Happened?”
“He’s just like someone walking around in circles,” Azzi said. “He doesn’t know where he is going. I would say that, just by speaking to him, he is a broken man. I’d go as far as to say he would be on the verge of suicide. It really worries me. I get the feeling that he’s really hurting and he’s an inkling of the man that he used to be.”
However, the show also reveals that when Pistorius was initially arrested for the Valentine’s Day killing, he displayed bravado, vaingloriously telling police: “I’ll survive. I always win.” In response, a policeman admonished him, “You could go to jail for a very long time, Oscar.”
The paper described Azzi as a racehorse trainer and close to Pistorius. They have apparently been in regular contact since Pistorius was released on bail.
“He just always seems to mention Reeva and to ask us to pray for her and her family,” Azzi said in the documentary. “Most of all, you’ve got to understand that we are there for him and we will always be his friend.”
Azzi hedged on whether he thought his friend was guilty: “I don’t know what to think. If you ask me, ‘Do you believe Oscar could do it?’, I’d have to say, ‘No,’ because I’ve never seen that side of him. But in life there are those moments of madness where people are just uncontrollable. I pray to God that’s not the case with him. As for Reeva and her family, how can one ever say to them that, from Oscar’s side, you’re sorry this happened? They’ve lost a child, a beautiful shining star. It’s just a terrible tragedy.”
Pistorius’ bank account took a hit when lucrative contracts and sponsorships involving companies such as Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE) were cancelled.
“He’s selling off all his property and everything because of the legal costs,” Azzi said. “We spoke about one or two of the horses. He’s asked me to try to get people to buy them for him because he has no form of income any longer.”
Azzi’s son Dexter also weighed in on the shooting tragedy. “I believe it was an accident, as Oscar said it was,” he said. “We’ve spoken over texts. He often asks people to keep Reeva in his prayers. It’s one of the first things he says to me every time we speak. He has said to me on a number of occasions that he’s really hurting and he’s a broken man.”
Pistorius will next appear in court on June 4.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.