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Oscar Pistorius murder case detective quits South African police

EPA, file

Hilton Botha at the bail hearing of paralympian Oscar Pistorius in Pretoria, South Africa, Feb. 20.

JOHANNESBURG - Hilton Botha, the South African detective ridiculed for his slipshod handling of the initial investigation into the killing of Olympic track star Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend has resigned from the force, police said on Thursday.

Warrant Officer Botha, a detective with 24 years experience, was the first officer on the scene after the Valentine's Day shooting of law graduate and model Reeva Steenkamp.

However, he was pulled off the case after it emerged he was being investigated for seven counts of attempted murder. He was also criticized for mixing up key facts about the investigation at Pistorius' bail hearing.

He handed in his resignation yesterday and it was accepted with immediate effect," police spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila told Reuters. "We are not going into the details."

Botha, a detective with 24 years experience, is accused of firing on a minibus taxi full of passengers in 2011 while pursuing a man accused of murdering a woman and disposing of her dismembered body down a drain, local media said.

The charges were withdrawn but reinstated on February 4, 10 days before Steenkamp was shot.

The incident has embarrassed the South African police who regularly come under fire for failing to reduce one of the highest crimes rates in the world and dispel perceptions of a force that is poorly trained.

Last week, eight policemen were arrested for tying a Mozambican taxi driver to the back of a vehicle and dragging him to the station. The video-recorded treatment of the man who later died shocked audiences around the world.

Related:

Pistorius bail hearing in chaos as lead detective is axed from case

Lead detective in Pistorius case faces attempted murder charges

Pistorius: I felt 'sense of terror' on night I mistakenly shot girlfriend