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Oscar Pistorius gets into fight in Johannesburg nightclub

Date

Aislinn Laing

Oscar Pistorius leaves court in Pretoria.

Oscar Pistorius leaves court in Pretoria. Photo: AP

Johannesburg: Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympic athlete on trial in South Africa for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, got into a fight in a nightclub on Saturday evening with a man who "aggressively engaged" him about the case.

The 27-year-old athlete's spokeswoman confirmed the altercation took place but insisted Pistorius had been sitting quietly in the VIP section of the club, in the upmarket district of Sandton in Johannesburg, when he was approached.

Oscar Pistorius with Reeva Steenkamp in January 2013.

Oscar Pistorius with Reeva Steenkamp in January 2013. Photo: AFP

The man, named by South African news website The Juice as Jared Mortimer, claimed Pistorius was "drunk and very aggressive" and poked him in the chest while telling him "you'll never get the better of me". Mr Mortimer told the website he then pushed Pistorius, who fell over into a chair, at which point bouncers at the VIP Room intervened and the athlete left the nightclub.

The incident comes just days after Pistorius' trial adjourned following the close of the defence case. The case will resume on August 7 for closing arguments, before the judge announces her verdict, which could carry a life sentence.

The athlete shot Ms Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door at his home in Pretoria in the early hours of Valentine's Day 2013 but says he believed she was an intruder. The prosecution argues he did so after an argument.

Pistorius has rarely been seen in public since shortly after the shooting when a visit to a restaurant in Johannesburg brought accusations that he had been "downing drinks and flirting with women".

During the trial, the court heard extracts of a psychologist's report which found the athlete suffered from post-traumatic stress and severe depression since the incident.

Psychologist Melissa Fernihough said Pistorius reported having become "a totally different person", who preferred to "isolate himself" and stay at home rather than see friends.

Anneliese Burgess, a spokeswoman for Pistorius, confirmed he was at VIP Room with one of his cousins.

"They sat in a quiet area of the private VIP section when they were approached by the individual," she said. "The individual in question, according to our client, started to aggressively engage him on matters relating to the trial. An argument ensued during which our client asked to be left alone. Oscar left soon thereafter with his cousin. Our client regrets the decision to go into a public place and thereby inviting unwelcome attention."

Mr Mortimer told The Juice he was introduced to Pistorius by a mutual friend, and that the athlete brought up Darren Fresco, a former friend who gave evidence for the prosecution at his trial about how he once fired a gun through a car sunroof during a day out.

"Oscar knew one of my friends and said, 'Oh, you are the infamous Jared Mortimer'," he told the website. "He immediately started talking about his friends and how they had backstabbed him. He mentioned Darren Fresco.

"He was going on about how influential his family is and how connected they are. He even pulled out his phone to show me pictures of armoured cars."

Mr Mortimer told the news website Pistorius poked him in the chest several times. "He said you'll never get the better of me. I'll always get the better of you," he is quoted as telling the publication.

On Sunday, hours after the incident, the athlete broke his long silence on Twitter to post quotations from the bible and pictures of himself with disabled children.

On Monday morning, Pistorius posted another tweet to his 353,000 followers which showed the message "Lord I ask today that you bathe those who live in pain in the river of your healing" on the background of a misty river at dawn.

pic.twitter.com/eMBkHjAqQ3

Telegraph, London

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