Oscar Pistorius case's former lead detective quits force

Hilton Botha, former lead detective in the case against athlete Oscar Pistorius, in court, Feb. 20, 2013.
AP Photo/Themba Hadebe

JOHANNESBURG The former lead detective in South Africa's investigation of the murder case against Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has resigned from the police force, police said Thursday.

The decision by detective Hilton Botha to quit followed criticism for his bungling of the investigation into Pistorius' shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Feb. 14, as well as the revelation that he faced attempted murder charges for a 2011 case in which he fired at a vehicle.

The police force as a whole came under scrutiny for the initial decision to assign Botha, a relatively junior officer, to a high-profile case involving an international celebrity. South African police practices came under more intense criticism last week after a taxi driver from Mozambique was dragged from a police vehicle and later died in detention east of Johannesburg.

Brig. Neville Malila, a police spokesman, said Botha voluntarily applied to leave the service, and said police would not divulge his reasons.

"It was his initiative. He applied for the resignation and the exit interviews were conducted with him," Malila said. "He still maintained that he wanted to leave the service and we honored his wish."