An Accident Waiting to Happen – Melinda Ferguson & Patricia Taylor


Ever since the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp in February 2013, the topic of Oscar Pistorius’s innocence in the incident as been a subject of hot debate in our country; to what degree could his claim that the shooting was a tragic accident be believed? The trial has stretched on and on until finally, on Friday 12 September, the morning papers carried pictures of Oscar at the verdict of his trial, in tears of relief as the judge finds him not guilty of pre-meditated murder. Melinda Ferguson (author of autobiographies Smacked and Hooked) together with Patricia Taylor, mother of Samantha Taylor (Oscar’s recent ex-girlfriend), have written an account of the family’s close connection to Oscar and the insights gained into his troubled personality. A fascinating disparity between the public image of hero-against-all-odds and the trigger-happy, womanizing egocentric that was the reality is explored in this book. Finally we have some psychological insight into his personality, and perhaps a better understanding of the demons that drove him to final breaking point.

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Told through the eyes of Sam’s mother, Patricia Taylor, it tracks the heady days of young romance when 24-year-old Pistorius met her 17-year-old daughter, Sam, and became part of the Taylor family’s close circle. The next two-and-a-half years would become a roller-coaster ride of extreme highs and dangerous lows as Pistorius’s growing international celebrity, emotional fragility, broken promises and recklessness consumed the Taylor family. 

The lowest point was during the 2012 London Olympics. While the world watched and cheered, unaware of the dark and desperate space Pistorius found himself in, the distraught and weeping athlete was on the phone day in and day out to the Taylors. On his return home, promises to get psychological help never materialised as Pistorius became increasingly reckless with guns and drove cars at breakneck speed. 

After one too many reckless incidents, where her daughter’s life was endangered, Patricia Taylor prophetically warned: “Oscar, something is going to go wrong and it’s going to happen soon. Your life is like a terrible accident waiting to happen.” 

Three months later Pistorius would shoot and kill Reeva Steenkamp, with the same gun he fired through the open roof of a speeding car with Samantha in the back seat. 

Of all the “Oscar” books to be released, An Accident Waiting to Happen is the only behind-the-scenes story shedding light on the athlete’s state of mind leading up to the night he fired four fatal shots through the bathroom door. 


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