The lead detective in the Oscar Pistorius investigation faces seven charges of attempted murder, South African police revealed today, leaving the prosecution case against the star sprinter in tatters.
Police made the shock announcement as Pistorius himself suffered a new blow when US sportswear giant Nike said it has suspended its contract with the double amputee champion known as "Blade Runner".
Pistorius was back in court on Thursday for the third day of a bail hearing over the Valentine's Day shooting of his 29-year-old model girlfriend Reeva
Detective Hilton Botha, whose testimony was repeatedly challenged by defence attorneys on Wednesday, is facing charges for shooting at a minibus taxi in 2009, police said.
"We were only informed yesterday that attempted murder charges against Hilton Botha have been reinstated," police spokesman Neville Malila told
Pistorius's lawyers had torn into Botha's police work at Wednesday's hearing, undermining his witnesses and forcing him to agree that the Olympian's version of events fitted the crime scene.
"It sounds consistent," Botha told the court.
Prosecutors allege it was a premeditated killing, but Pistorius has said he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he shot repeatedly through a locked bathroom door in the dead of night and did not intend to kill her.
The law graduate and cover girl was found by medics covered in bloodied towels and wearing white shorts and a black vest, with bullet wounds to her head, elbow and hip.
Today, defence lawyer Barry Roux again pilloried Botha and what he called "disastrous shortcomings in the state's case".
The Olympian and Paralympian sprinter, who has been in custody for a week, could face months or perhaps years in pre-trial detention if he does not win bail.