When Oscar Pistorius would not take his eyes off ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor in the early stages of their relationship, the schoolgirl’s family thought it was romantic, but soon discovered it was a dark possessive streak and ability to lie “seamlessly”, according to a tell-all book by the mother of a former girlfriend.
In her book ‘Oscar: An Accident Waiting to Happen’, Patricia Taylor, the mother of Pistorius’ ex-girlfriend Samantha, recounts how the couple was besotted with each other but that it soon became apparent that it was not a healthy relationship.
“He always used to put her on his lap and hold her so tightly. It seemed almost as if he made himself feel more secure by holding onto her. When she walked around, his eyes always followed her everywhere. He wouldn’t let her out of his sight,” Taylor narrates in her book.
Taylor, Sam or Sammy to her family, was Pistorius’ girlfriend before he left her for Reeva Steenkamp, the model and law graduate he shot dead on Valentine’s Day, 2013.
A South African court acquitted Pistorius, 27, of murder this month, but found him guilty of culpable homicide after his defence that he shot at Steenkamp fearing she was an intruder lurking behind a locked toilet in his Pretoria home.
Her daughter, then 16, met Pistorius at a rugby match in August 2010. He was 23 and was seeing someone else. The pair went on their first date after about a year and held a cocktail party two months later to celebrate their joint birthday.
Taylor’s doubts about the young man whose company she had come to enjoy begun when she caught him lying. Pistorius had declined to join them for Christmas saying he had training.
Later when asked how the festivities had been, Pistorius said he had had his worst Christmas Day ever, eating pies at a gas station all alone and missing his dead mother. He gave a different account later saying he had spent the day with his friend Alex’s family.
Taylor relates how Oscar would ask Samantha to Skype him in her pyjamas so that he could be sure that she was not going to go anywhere afterward.
Pistorius was South Africa’s Golden Boy – unspeakably handsome, successful and determined – after beating the odds to become the first paralympian to complete with able bodied athletes in the London Olympics in 2012.
For every feel-good story there was a troubling one and most people did not realised how troubled and damaged Pistorius was, according to Taylor and co-author Melinda Ferguson.
“The hero we all loved and admired … and the dark one, the shadow, the one he worked so hard to suppress. The side of him that was unheroic, needy and wholly imperfect,” they wrote.
And then there was the speeding
Taylor recounted a newspaper article where Pistorius had told a journalist he had ran over a dog while speeding through a township. The athlete got out of the car and shot the animal dead on seeing it dragging its hind legs in pain.
On another occasion, Pistorius took one of Taylor’s friends on a spin in his super-fast white Nissan GTR. When they got back, a seething mother from the neighborhood stormed the house to complain about the speeding in a suburb full of children.
Their friend took the blame and apologized while Pistorius crouched behind a kitchen counter grinning.
During his trial, prosecutors painted a picture of a self-absorbed young man that never took responsibility for anything. In some instates, Pistorius blamed his lawyers for discrepancies in his testimony.
Once, when confronted for driving at 300 kph while driving with Sam in the car, Pistorius did not deny and was contrite, but did not stop despite vowing to stop.
“I soon found out, however, that his promises were short lived. That was another discovery I soon made about Oscar: he was able to seamlessly distort the truth, while being extremely convincing.”
In a chapter named Bitter Endings, Taylor describes how the final cracks begun to appear after media reports that Pistorius had been with a Russian supermodel.
Sam broke off the relationship and started seeing South African billionaire Quinton van der Burgh. But after a holiday in Dubai, the young woman left her new boyfriend and patched things up with Pistorius, after an email exchange while he was at the London Olympics in which he asked for a second chance.
Taylor only agreed to her daughter resuming the relationship when Pistorius consented to demands that he see a psychologist.
But things soon fell apart again after Pistorius got into a scuffle with Van Der Burgh over Sam at a racing track.
When the media got wind of the story, the two men said Sam had caused the fight. Taylor demanded that he stay way from her family when people called her daughter names in an ensuing social media storm.
Less than three months later, Steenkamp would be dead. Taylor was in a panic when friends called to tell her Pistorius had killed his girlfriend. She was not sure it was not her daughter, who finally picked up frantic calls only to say, “Mommy, Oscar killed someone.”