The family of Oscar Pistorius denied "in the strongest terms" a newspaper columnist's claim that he took acting lessons in preparation for his murder trial.
The double-amputee Olympian's appearances in court have been interrupted on several occasions by him vomiting and crying uncontrollably, emotional displays that have been treated with suspicion by the prosecution.
Well-known South African columnist Jani Allan alleged that the double-amputee paralympian had been coached for his appearances.
Themba Hadebe / Pool via AP
Oscar Pistorius weeps as he listens to evidence by a pathologist in court in Pretoria, South Africa. He is accused of premeditated murder.
"I have it from a reliable source that you are taking acting lessons for your days in court," Allan wrote on her website Tuesday in a post entitled "Letter to Oscar." "Your coach has an impossible task."
Allan is a former Sunday Times of South Africa columnist who gained notoriety in the 1980s after an alleged affair with the white supremacist leader Eugene Terre'blanche. She said in the open letter that Pistorius and Terre'blanche were "cut from the same cloth" and that both men were "narcissistic in the extreme."
The Pistorius family responded by issuing a statement denying these allegations.
The 27-year-old sprinter is accused of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home on Feb. 14 last year. Pistorius admits shooting her but denies murder, saying he thought she was an intruder.
The trial is due to continue on May 5.
First published April 22 2014, 3:15 AM
Alexander Smith is a staff reporter at NBCNews.com, based in London. He started work there in August, 2013, and is responsible for finding, verifying, and writing breaking stories. He started working at NBC News having been at its standalone startup BreakingNews.com, where he was a breaking news editor. Before his work at Breaking News, he was a reporter in the regional press where he covered crime and courts.
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