Johannesburg - The mystery of Oscar Pistorius’s expensive missing watch from his home – or, as it later emerged, two missing watches – has left the police team who investigated the death of Reeva Steenkamp with even more egg on their faces.
Pictures shown to the Pretoria High Court yesterday of the crime scene, taken in the early hours of February 14, last year, depicted a box, with bloodstains on the lid.
The open box contained eight expensive watches – some with blood smears on them. Next to it, on top of a speaker in Pistorius’s bedroom, another watch could be seen.
A few hours later, when a second set of pictures of the bedroom was taken, including of the box, there were only six watches. The watch that was previously next to the box was also missing from the picture, but at the time was not noticed by anyone.
While the missing watches still remain a mystery, Colonel Giliam van Rensburg, the former head of the Boschkop police station, explained that one of the watches was taken by Pistorius’s sister, Aimee, that morning, when she fetched clothes for Pistorius to wear.
Van Rensburg said that when he at first saw the box with the eight watches, he told himself this was tempting for any person, because they were expensive. “I told the photographer I needed pictures of the watches and that he make sure he kept an eye on it.”
According to him, one of the forensic investigators remarked that one specific watch in the collection was worth between R50 000 and R100 000.
Van Rensburg said that during the course of the morning, he’d released the forensic investigators and that they were no longer moving around on the ground floor. He found them on the first floor, in the bedroom, where they were busy planning the investigation.
“I stood in the bedroom with my back towards the box with the watches… When I turned around, I noticed the watch on the left bottom corner was missing. Someone said that Pistorius’s sister took it.
“I told the forensic team that the watches are expensive, that they must look after (them).”
Van Rensburg went downstairs to pack up when, within minutes, a forensic expert came to tell him that a second watch was missing from the box. “I was furious. I instructed everyone to come to the garage to body search them.”
They also searched the house, all the bags and even the vehicles, but nothing could be found.
Van Rensburg said he implemented access control the next day and everyone entering and leaving the house had to be searched. A case docket had been opened, but the watch remained missing.
Van Rensburg only noticed the disappearance of the second watch yesterday, when advocate Barry Roux pointed out that the watch next to the box was visible on the picture taken earlier, but was quite absent on the picture taken later. Pistorius also reported this second watch stolen. - The Saturday Star