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Oscar Pistorius: BBC removes documentary trailer after backlash

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image captionOscar Pistorius was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013

The BBC has removed a trailer for a new documentary about Oscar Pistorius after criticism that it did not name his murder victim Reeva Steenkamp.

The BBC press office tweeted the trailer for The Trials of Oscar Pistorius on Tuesday.

But many users criticised the fact that neither the trailer nor the tweet named Steenkamp, who was killed in 2013.

"We regret that the original trail did not refer to Reeva Steenkamp directly," the BBC said in a statement.

"We are aware of the upset it has caused, which was never the intention.

"We have removed the trail and it will be replaced by something more representative of the series, which examines in detail a number of complex issues connected to her murder."

Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Pistorius was sentenced to six years in prison for killing Steenkamp, his girlfriend, in his home in Pretoria, South Africa, in 2013.

His sentence was later increased to 15 years, minus time already served.

The documentary was commissioned for US network ESPN, but will be broadcast by the BBC in the UK.

After the trailer was released, domestic abuse campaigner David Challen wrote: "A total failure to even name the woman he killed. Shame on the BBC."

He also criticised the broadcaster for describing it as a "remarkable documentary series" in the press release.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Historian Dr Fern Riddell tweeted: "No-one says Reeva Steenkamp's name in this trailer, or speaks for her. In seven years, with all that's supposedly changed about editorial practice and how we talk about these stories, she's just back to being the unnamed girlfriend."

The two-minute trailer indicated that the four-part documentary would look at the rise and fall of the athlete, nicknamed the blade runner.

While there were glimpses of Steenkamp in photographs and a video, plus a brief shot of domestic violence campaigners, there were only two mentions of the victim in the trailer.

One was the voice of a news broadcaster at the time saying: "Oscar Pistorius suspected of killing his girlfriend, he thought she was a burglar." The other, near the end of the trailer, was a voiceover that said: "He killed his girlfriend?"

Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times through a locked toilet door in February 2013.

The documentary will be on the BBC iPlayer from 7 November, and broadcast on BBC Two at a later date.

The rise and fall of Oscar Pistorius

  • August 2012: Competes in London Olympics and Paralympics, where he won a gold medal
  • February 2013: Shoots dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
  • March 2014: Trial begins
  • September 2014: Judge finds Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide
  • October 2014: Begins five-year sentence
  • October 2015: Transferred to house arrest
  • December 2015: Appeal court changes verdict to murder
  • July 2016: Sentenced to six years in jail for murder
  • November 2017: Sentence more than doubled to 15 years, minus time already served

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