Just when the world thought Oscar Pistorius’ meteoric rise to Olympic glory and international celebrity had terminated abysmally in prison, Brent Willock’s scientific perspective reopens this gripping narrative for an astonishing re-view.
Oscar’s spectacular assent to fame ground to a screeching halt in the wee hours of Valentine’s Day, 2013. Hearing a sound emanating from his bathroom, he grabbed his pistol and he stumbled to the washroom, screaming at the intruders to leave. Fearing someone was about to emerge to harm him and his girlfriend, Reeva, he fired four bullets into the toilet chamber. Soon he realized he had killed his lover. Horrified, he summoned the authorities. The investigating detective believed this was yet another case of an escalating argument where the man murdered his partner. World opinion is split. Some believe Oscar. Others are convinced he committed a despicable crime of passion.
Distinguished clinical psychologist Brent Willock brings an entirely new perspective to bear on these horrific events: that Oscar’s horrific actions occurred while he was in a deep sleep, known as a parasomniac state. Throughout this book, Willock uses scientific scrutiny and legal precedence to resolve many of the crucial anomalies surrounding the Oscar Pistorius trial. Willock also discusses how mental health experts and the defense team could have overlooked the hypothesis of parasomnia that could have exonerated Oscar.
Millions who followed the Blade Runner’s astonishing achievements, uplifted and inspired by his triumph over physical adversity, were crushed by his precipitous plunge from grace. They were baffled. Even Oscar himself, in a television interview shortly before his sentencing, achingly asked, “I always think, How did this possibly happen? How could this have happened?” At last, Willock’s elegant work responds to these poignant questions that so plagued and pained Reeva’s family, friends, Oscar and, indeed, the world.
Praise for this Book from Leading Authorities in the Scientific and Forensic Fields:
"This book is a murder mystery but not a ‘who done it?’ We know who fired the shots through the door of the toilet room killing Reeva, the girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius. He had been asleep next to her when he was awakened by a noise he thought was due to one or more intruders. He ran to the bathroom calling to Reeva to phone the police and shouting to the intruder(s) to get out of his house. Neither she nor they responded. After being frozen in fear, he shot through the locked door and then discovered Reeva close to death. From here on the story is a detailed analysis of the legal procedures, the misunderstandings of the state of mind of the accused: was he fully conscious and so responsible for murder? The author, Brent Willock, is highly informed to make a compelling case that Oscar was not fully conscious, therefore not responsible, and to address the other possible states of mind Oscar may have gone through during and following this tragic event. The book sums up the pressing need for lawyers, judges and jurors to become familiar with the unconscious mind of sleep that does not obey the logic of the mind fully awake.” — Rosalind Cartwright, Ph.D. Professor and Chairman Emerita, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Director, Sleep Disorder Center, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago. Author, The Twenty-four Hour Mind: the role of sleep and dreaming in our emotional lives (Oxford University Press).
"This well-researched, scientifically accurate, and nicely written book by Dr. Willock invokes an alternative explanation for Oscar Pistorius’ behaviors on February 14, 2013, namely that the tragic event could be well-explained by a parasomnia (confusional arousal/sleepwalking). such conditions are a reminder that wake and sleep are not mutually exclusive, but rather may co-exist simultaneously: part of the brain capable of producing complex behaviors is awake, while parts responsible for monitoring and laying down memories of such behaviors are asleep permitting behavior without conscious awareness and therefore without culpability. Furthermore, during these states of mixed wake and sleep, there may be impaired perception of the environment with diminished insight, judgement, and reasoning resulting in flawed recall of details of these events which may appear unrealistic, puzzling, confusing, contradictory, unreasonable, or irrational. This scientifically-based concept should be valuable to all parties (perpetrator, victim, prosecution, and defense) in future similar cases.” — Mark W. Mahowald, MD, Professor of Neurology, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, USA (Retired) —Michel A. Cramer Bornemann, MD, D-ABSM, FAASM, Lead Investigator—Sleep Forensics Associates (SFA)
About the Author:
Brent Willock earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan. After several years on staff in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical Center, he relocated to Toronto to become Chief Psychologist at the university-affiliated C.M. Hincks Treatment Center. He was Adjunct Faculty, York University, Associate Faculty Member, School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto, and taught at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
Dr. Willock is the founding President of the local chapter of the American Psychological Association’s Division of Psychoanalysis, and of the Toronto Institute & Society for Contemporary Psychoanalysis. He has contributed many chapters to books, published in prominent journals, and serves on the editorial boards for several journals and book series. For the Washington Psychoanalytic Foundation’s New Directions in Psychoanalytic Thinking Program, he is a Writing Mentor. He is author of Comparative-Integrative Psychoanalysis (finalist, Goethe Award), First Editor of Understanding and Coping with Failure; Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Identity and Difference; Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Passion; On Deaths and Endings (Gradiva Award), Taboo or Not Taboo? (Goethe Award), Loneliness and Longing (Goethe Award).
Dr. Willock serves on the Board of the Canadian Institute for Child & Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, the faculty of the Institute for the Advancement of Self Psychology, and the Advisory Board of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. His many contributions have been honored by the Ontario Psychological Association, the American Psychological Association, the Canadian Psychological Association, the International Federation for Psychoanalytic Education, the University of Chicago, the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, and the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis.