Samantha Taylor is the ex-girlfriend of the infamous gold medal Olympic winner and killer, Oscar Pistorius. Oscar is accused in the 2013 murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Stempkamp, though he insists the tragedy was an accident. In 2014, Pistorius was convicted of manslaughter, but the conviction was upgraded to murder following an appeal by state prosecutors in 2015. He will be sentenced July 6.
Here’s what you need to know now:
1. She Was in an Abusive Relationship with Pistorius
Taylor, 22, of South Africa, met Pistorius at a rugby match in 2010, she told 48 Hours. “After that we just kind of started chatting over Facebook. He was very charming and respectful, and we got along very well,” she said. Within about three months of their relationship, Taylor started noticing changes in Pistorius. He developed a temper, which initially wasn’t directed towards her. But things took a turn for the worse, and soon his violent mood swings consumed their relationship.
Taylor told A Current Affair that she is “lucky to be alive.” In the interview, she stated:
It’s so hard to explain him as a person. He’s a loving man, he’s a charming man…I fell in love with an amazing side of him. There was so much good about him, but unfortunately I think he has so many deep rooted issues that he’s never dealt with in his whole life. And all those issues catch up with you eventually if you just brush them off.
Taylor went onto say that Pistorius often shouted at her to the point of fearing for her life. For instance, during a road trip together, Pistorius got into “one of his moods” out of nowhere. He was in a rage, grabbed a loaded gun and fired a shot through the sunroof of the vehicle. Taylor was absolutely petrified, while Pistorius merely laughed after the incident.
“He used to bite me a lot, pinch me in anger and in fun. I had bruises and scars. It was painful,” Taylor told The Mirror.
Their relationship lasted about 18 months.
2. She Testified Against Pistorius
Taylor testified against Pistorius during the 2014 murder trial. She explained that he often slept with a gun “next to his legs.” In fact, she said, “He kept a gun on him all the time…he carried it around with him.”
She recalled that once when she was on a joyride with Pistorius, they were pulled over for speeding. The police officer noticed his gun on the seat and proceeded to pick it up. Taylor told the jury:
Oscar left his gun on the seat of the car. When the police had a look, he saw the gun was on the seat. He said to Oscar the gun couldn’t just stay there. Oscar got very angry. He shouted at the policeman that he was not allowed to touch his gun.
You can watch more of Taylor’s testimony here.
3. Pistorius Cheated on Her With Steenkamp
Taylor testified that Pistorius cheated on her twice, and they broke up as a result both times. The second time was with Steenkamp. “Finally at the end, he cheated on me with Reeva Steenkamp,” she told the court. She said they were not officially broken up yet when Pistorius appeared on television at an awards ceremony with Steenkamp. Pistorius testified that he and Taylor were no longer an item when he was with Steenkamp.
“I think our whole relationship there were lies…from what I know, or from what I found out, there were definitely a lot of other women in his life at the same time as me,” Taylor told ABC News.
4. Her Mother Wrote a Book About the Ordeal
Taylor’s mother, Patricia Taylor, published a book, An Accident Waiting to Happen, about the tumultuous relationship her daughter had with Pistorius, and life leading up to the murder of Steenkamp. The book makes many claims, including the suggestion that Pistorius’ brother deleted data from the former Olympian star’s phone, and how Pistorius called Taylor hours before Steenkamp was shot to death.
Why on earth would I want to write this book? This is the question that will probably be asked a lot once it is published. Is it for money? Publicity? Fame? The truth is I am absolutely terrified to tell my story, but I am more terrified not to. As hard as it is to get it all out, to sit day in and day out, spending months and months with Melinda Ferguson, my writer, and going over all the pain and turmoil and chaos – especially now, in light of what has happened to Reeva and what transpired in the court case – I feel I must tell our story. Already four months before Oscar shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp, as he ricocheted out of our lives, I was struck by a deep need to tell the story of how Oscar had come into our world and, how, over a period of 18 months, he almost destroyed my daughter Sam and negatively affected our entire family.
During the Olympics of 2012 and after Oscar returned to South Africa, I feared that something terrible was going to happen. I believed strongly that Oscar was in dire need of help; that he was on the brink of suicide, or that something was about to happen – with disastrous consequences. After things went sour between Oscar and Sammy towards the end of 2012, Oscar fabricated so many stories about Sammy, that hurt both her and her reputation, to justify his actions and hurtful behaviour. When one of Oscar’s friends phoned to threaten Sam and our family, to “watch our backs if we ever go back to Joburg”, I was forced to consult a psychologist and an attorney. I was extremely stressed. Both professionals advising me were as worried about Sammy and our family as I was.
5. She Runs a Business With Her Mother & Sister
Taylor owns a business, Life Retreat, with her mother, Patricia, and sister, Kerri-Lee. The company’s website features blogs about fashion, health and relationship advice, as well as an online shop. In the “About” section, it reads:
Take three dynamic women, bonded through family. A mother, and her two daughters. They all share a passion for health, nutrition, well-being & natural living. Their strength is lies in combining their love of beauty, their vision of excellence, and their dedication to inspiring others. They strive to align themselves with products and people, who embody these same core values. Care for the environment, a love for South Africa, and living a healthy, happy and balanced lifestyle.