Reeva Steenkamp: Pistorius could go free as pictures of blood-spattered bathroom 'could wreck case'
- Former investigating officer Hilton Botha believes leaked photos of death scene could wreck prosecution case
- Pictures show bathroom door with bullet holes and pools of blood on the floor
- Botha criticised for walking through crime without any foot protection
- Claims two key witnesses have been scared off talking to police
By Steve Robson
PUBLISHED: 20:03 EST, 1 June 2013 | UPDATED: 06:40 EST, 2 June 2013
Oscar Pistorius could go free because shocking photos from the crime scene were leaked to the public, claims the detective who first led the case.
Graphic images of the blood-soaked bathroom where the runner shot his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp appeared in the media earlier this week.
Now former detective Hilton Botha, who was dropped from the investigation after it emerged he is facing two counts of attempted murder in a separate incident, says the revelation could scupper the prosecution case.
WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGE:The bathroom at Oscar Pistorius's home in Pretoria which shows bullet holes in the door and pools of blood on the floor and the bloody stains on the toilet seat
Fears: Runner Oscar Pistorius denies murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp claiming he shot her believing she was an intruder
He believes they were taken by a corrupt policeman within 48 hours of the fatal incident at Pistorius's house in Pretoria, South Africa, on Valentine's Day.
The graphic images showed a blood-soaked bathroom where Reeva Steenkamp was shot by Oscar Pistorius
Botha told the Sunday People: 'It looks like the pictures have been taken one or two days after the scene because on the Saturday (following the shooting) I took it down and sent it away for forensics.
'This is why I took the door down. I knew that anyone could come in and take pictures and both our cases could be b******d.'
Botha said he had heard money was being offered for pictures of the scene.
He believes they were taken by a mobile phone camera and shown to the Pistorious' s defence team before official crime scene pictures were revealed to lawyers.
In the gruesome images, pools of blood cover the toilet and bathroom floor, with police tape marking the holes where bullets flew through the bathroom door, which is missing a panel.
It is thought that the low position of the bullet holes will be used by Pistorius's defence team to argue that he was not wearing his prosthetic legs at the time of the shooting, so could not have planned the murder.
The pictures, obtained by Sky News, also show trails of blood leading from the bathroom and down the stairs of the house, as the paralympian carried Miss Steenkamp's body and called for help.
The Sky footage also shows bloodied footprints - thought to have been caused by investigating officer Hilton Botha walking into the house without protective covers on his shoes.
Criticism: Former South African detective Hilton Botha came under fire for walking over the crime scene without foot protection
Pistorius, 26, known as the Blade Runner, denies murder but admits shooting Reeva through the bathroom door believing her to be an intruder.
He is back in court on Tuesday for his next bail hearing.
The investigation into 29-year-old Miss Steenkamp's death has been heavily criticised.
Botha was forced to step down
when it emerged he faced seven charges of attempted murder for a 2011
case in which he and two other officers fired on a vehicle in an attempt
to make it stop.
He told the Sunday People that when he first began investigating the killing he knew of two potential key witnesses who had been scared off talking to police.
Model: Reeva Steenkamp was shot to death in the bathroom at Pistorius's home
He said: 'They changed their minds. It sounds to me like someone spoke to them and they don't want to get involved.'
Botha has now quit the South African Police Service to start his own security company.
Sources told Sky News that other officers in the case are being investigated for the disappearance of a watch belonging to Pistorius.
His uncle Arnold Pistorius described what life is like for the athlete while he waits for his trial to begin. He has grown a full beard, reading a bible every day and living like a recluse.
He told CNN the Olympic athlete : 'He is housebound. He doesn't go out in public places. He's not keen to go out. This fits him at the moment.
'He's got photos [of Reeva] in his room, he's got photos all over the places.'
Next-door neighbour Christo Menelaou said Pistorius 'tortures' himself about his girlfriend's death. 'He cries all the time and asks God to take away the pain.'