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Johannesburg - Oscar Pistorius’s alleged murder of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, would be typical of the kind of violent crime that is prevalent in the country. Pistorius has also shown signs of having narcissistic personality disorder, and his interest in guns is an indication of aggressive tendencies, experts say.
Gareth Newham, head of crime and justice programme at the Institute of Security Studies, said that according to statistics, 80 percent of victims of murder were known to their perpetrators.
Of the over 15 000 murders that took place in a year, Newham said 45 percent were as a result of firearms.
”Twenty percent of the perpetrators are direct relatives,” he said
Newham said in more than half of murders, both victims and perpetrators were under the influence of alcohol and in domestic-related murders, the killing was often out of jealousy and or as the result of an argument.
Although murders have fallen by 54 percent since 1994, the murder rate is still higher than the global average.
Unisa criminologist Professor Anna van der Hoven said that a combination of factors contributed to someone murdering someone close to them.
But she said that if Pistorius had murdered Steenkamp, there must have been a triggering factor. The Olympian had showed signs of aggression and violence in the past. His interest in firearms was also indicative of aggressive tendencies.
“Abusive men suffer from pathological jealousy of their partners,” said Van der Hoven. “I haven’t diagnosed him but he also shows signs of someone with a narcissistic personality disorder.
“These kinds of individuals have a grandiose sense of self-importance… However, their self-esteem is very fragile and when this is threatened, they can become violent,” she said. “They don’t know how to show sympathy for other people.”
She said Pistorius’s disability may also have played a role in that he received special attention and always expected it.