Former lead investigator in Pistorius case resigns from SAPS

Veteran police detective Botha, who resigned unexpectedly on Thursday, has handled two controversial cases involving "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius.

The most prominent is the murder charge brought against Pistorius who shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's morning. The athlete claimed he shot Steenkamp behind a closed toilet door, believing thieves had obtained access to his home. However, Botha was removed from the murder case at Pistorius's bail hearing after it was found he was facing seven charges of attempted murder for shooting at a taxi he believed to be carrying a supect.

The other case he was involved in is a lesser known case, involving a R2.2-million claim Pistorius lodged against a student, who attended a party at the same house on the luxury Silver Woods Estate in Pretoria three years ago.

On her Twitter page, Cassidy Taylor-Memmory describes herself as "a believer in peace and love". On February 14 she tweeted a poignant message: "Sending love & prayers to the Steenkamp family on this difficult day – may you rest in peace beautiful #Reeva ♡."

The tweet is all the more poignant because 21-year-old Taylor-Memmory has her own legal history with Pistorius.

In the wake of Steenkamp's death, confidential settlement talks between the legal teams representing Pistorius and Taylor-Memmory have escalated on an urgent basis. The sticking point as both parties moved to resolve the dispute this week was the demand by Taylor-Memmory for Pistorius to pay her legal fees, expected to be less than a R1-million.

Loss of income
For three years Taylor-Memmory has been fighting the civil claim brought against her by Pistorius after he alleged she laid assault charges against him, which led to his loss of income. Her lawyer Lidene Botha of SRoux in Pretoria alleged the claim is spurious, as her client never laid an assault charge against him. Pistorius's legal team have also not provided them with proof that he was held in a cell overnight, and police had not managed to assist her with her inquiry, she said.

The Mail & Guardian sent questions to the police this week, in an effort to ascertain who laid an assault charge in the Taylor-Memmory case and whether there were records to show Pistorius was held in a cell overnight in 2009. The police responded by calling the M&G to say the police were all involved in the National Police Day around the country on Wednesday, and would have difficulty responding. No responses were received.

Charged with attempted murder
The news broke on Thursday afternoon that he had resigned from the police force.

Brigadier Neville Malila said: "He gave notice with immediate effect yesterday [Wednesday]."

"The reasons given are between himself and the organisation. It is a personal decision ultimately."

Malila said Botha had been an investigator for many years and a member of the police for more than 22 years.

Botha's removal from the Pistorius case followed reports in February that he was charged with attempted murder. Police later confirmed that he had seven attempted murder charges pending.

In 2011 Botha allegedly fired shots at a minibus while trying to stop the vehicle. Seven people were in the taxi at the time.

Botha told Sapa he was looking forward to his new job, but was coy on exactly what it entailed. It was different but in a similar field to what he was doing with the police.

"It is a new area but I am happy about it." Botha said his new employers approached him about a week ago. He would not give further details regarding his new position or employer saying it would bring unnecessary attention to them.

"The most important reason [for my resignation] is that I want to send my son to university next year and with a police salary it would have been impossible for me."

Botha said he harboured no ill feelings towards the police service, adding: "I really enjoyed all the years I worked." – additional reporting by Sapa


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