Oscar and Reeva had plans - managerComment on this story
Pretoria - Oscar Pistorius's manager has testified on the athlete's relationship with Reeva Steenkamp and his obsession with personal security.
The second defence witness called to the stand in the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday was Pistorius's agent, Peet van Zyl.
He described how the athlete had been making plans with Steenkamp just a week before he shot and killed her.
Defence advocate Barry Roux firstly asked Van Zyl to describe his relationship with the athlete.
Van Zyl met Pistorius in 2004 after the paralympic games in Athens.
Their business relationship began two years later, where he would secure races, events and sponsorships for Pistorius. Van Zyl said they had daily interactions to discuss Pistorius's career and finances.
Van Zyl described the athlete's “heightened sense of awareness” and how the athlete was paranoid about potential crimes targeting him.
Whenever the pair would drive together, the athlete would speed to avoid potential trackers or pursuers.
Whenever he parked a car, Pistorius ensured it would be in an open, well-lit space to ensure his safety.
When the pair visited New York, he recounted how one day while walking in the streets, a loud banging sound had triggered Pistorius's fears, resulting in the athlete clutching onto his arm.
He also told the court of how one day at Pistorius's home while discussing a contract, the athlete was unable to focus as he was too concerned about the security of his house.
On a plane trip they took together, Pistorius took off his prosthetic legs, and while they were asleep, one leg fell over. When a stewardess came over to pick it up, he was incredibly startled and Van Zyl said he didn't want people to see his prosthesis.
Van Zyl said he was only aware of two incidents where Pistorius lost his temper, but would not describe his client as “aggressive”.
On a trip to Barcelona, Pistorius was being questioned by a media crew that allegedly called him a “cheat” for using his prosthetic blades in a race against able-bodied athletes, causing both Van Zyl and Pistorius to become upset.
A similar incident occurred in Britain, leading to the athlete walking out of an interview.
The manager then described Pistorius's relationship with Steenkamp.
He said it was “loving” and the athlete would involve Steenkamp in planning his own career.
Pistorius had even asked if Steenkamp could accompany him on a trip to an athletic competition, which was unusual as he'd never asked for his girlfriends to join before.
“I want (Reeva) to see what my world is about,” Pistorius told Van Zyl. This, he believed, would help the model understand Pistorius's lifestyle and work commitments.
The day before Steenkamp died, Van Zyl had been trying to organise tickets for her to join the athlete on his next trip to Brazil in March 2013.
Van Zyl told the court he'd also been trying to get tickets for an Andrea Bocelli concert in Tuscany set for July last year.
The manager said that Steenkamp was truly excited for the opportunity to travel with Pistorius.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel cross-examined Van Zyl about his client driving at high speeds in the past, all in a bid to ensure that he was “not followed” or tracked by potential criminals.
Van Zyl said he'd heard from other athletes who travelled with Pistorius about this speeding.
Nel asked about an assault where Pistorius had been attacked, and whether Van Zyl knew about it.
Van Zyl said he knew about it but had not mentioned it because he was not present during the incident.
He was then questioned about Pistorius had ever introduced his other girlfriends to his manager.
Nel pointed out that Pistorius had taken his ex-girlfriend, Samantha Taylor, overseas as well, but Van Zyl said this was not a request from Pistorius himself and was an offer from a company sponsoring the athlete.
Van Zyl said Pistorius had never discussed his relationship with Taylor either.
Nel then brought up an incident where Pistorius's roommate during a tour had requested a different room because the athlete was “constantly arguing” with someone telephonically in the room.
The manager said he didn't have the details on why the roommate had wanted to leave the room.
“Is it difficult for you to say negative things (about Pistorius)?” asked Nel.
Van Zyl denied this, and said he never got the details because it didn't seem like a major issue and was resolved without his involvement.
Nel then asked about the night of Steenkamp's death, but Van Zyl said he had never discussed the shooting with his client.
The manager also said he was aware of Pistorius's interest of firearms, after being asked about an article published by a British journalist that stated if Pistorius couldn't sleep at night, he'd go to practice with his guns.
Van Zyl said he didn't believe it was a negative piece.
He was then asked if Pistorius was “paranoid” in his seemingly extreme security concerns, but the manager said he wasn't qualified to give such an opinion in court.
Nel then attacked Pistorius's self-involvement for suggesting that he take Steenkamp on his trip to show her “his world” and why “he” could not make certain commitments. The prosecutor asked if this could have been born out of arguments between the couple.
Van Zyl said he was not aware of any arguments, and also confirmed that Pistorius had never asked for Taylor to join him on work trips.
Nel said he did not expect character evidence to this level, and needed further time to properly continue his cross-examination.
The trial continues on Wednesday.