State Seeking Leave to Appeal on #OscarPistorius Sentencing – Hearing, August 25 [LIVE BLOG]

The hearing begins at 9am local SA time.  I’ll be providing updates live on this page.  You can also follow Nick on Twitter at @HiRezLife

Nel is walking Masipa through the points of the state’s argument.  He calls the sentence “shockingly and inappropriately lenient.” 

Nel tells Masipa that Oscar’s personal circumstances were “over-emphasized”


The camera primarily focuses on Nel but when it does pan to Masipa, she doesn’t look too pleased.

“The court misdirected itself in believing that the perception of an intruder entering home was a mitigating factor.”

Nel points out that Oscar formed his INTENTION to fire in the bedroom when he got his gun… not in the bathroom.  This should have been taken into account as an aggravated factor.

“The court failed to take into account the findings of the SCA”


Nel says the court made credibility findings about Scholtz, therefore the court should have rejected that Oscar was in no condition to testify.  He also questions her finding that Oscar was remorseful…

“There’s a chasm between regret and remorse.”

Knowing that the SCA found that the accused had never given a proper explanation for why he fired, the accused should have provided testimony during sentencing.

Right on schedule…. a cell phone goes off.

Nel politely uses the words “respectfully” and “utmost respect” repeatedly while he basically tells Masipa her sentencing judgement is shit.

Nel hammers home – the benchmark is 15 years – that’s the starting point of a sentence, not a clean slate.  Go Nel!

“He decided in the bedroom to shoot at whoever – if there was somebody in the bathroom – whoever…”  “That was the fact of his intention – to shoot whoever.”

The court failed to grade the degree of Dolus Eventualis.  The court was bound by the inferences of the SCA.  Likely and Obvious are degrees in Dolus Eventualis… SCA found it was obvious that Oscar’s foreseeability was he would kill a person.  “Those are all very aggravating factors, My Lady.”


Masipa 2

Nel talks about what bothers Mr. Steenkamp… he wondered what his daughter felt when she was being shot.  Nel feels this wasn’t fully taken into account.  He also emphasizes the cruelty of Black Talon.  It should have been an aggravating factor.  It didn’t get the attention in sentencing that it should have.

The court misdirected itself when the court ignored the SCAs finding that Oscar’s subjective intention was unaffected by his vulnerability.

Nel also points out that the physical demonstration of the accused in court was very different than a person walking down their hallway with a lethal firearm.  In other words, the reenactment in court is not a true reenactment.

The public’s misperception [of why Oscar shot, the argument theory] is irrelevant and shouldn’t have been considered.   Nel says, what is important to note about the public – society has an interest in a proper sentence being imposed based on the nature and gravity of the crime.

Nel wraps up by saying they can only appeal to the SCA, therefore they are applying for leave to appeal.

Roux starts by saying how shockingly inappropriate the state’s appeal arguments are.  Points out the state waited 15 days, and let poor poor Oscar sit in jail waiting to see what they would do.  Roux says the state is “prejudice.”  Reminds Masipa how much Oscar cried in court.  The state has not given a “fair appraisal of this matter.”

Roux says about Masipa’s judgement… “The judgement made me proud of judiciary.”

In case you want to revisit that nightmare, here is the document…

Masipa’s Sentencing Judgement for Oscar Pistorius 7.6.2016


“What is it that the state wants?”  If it’s 8 years, they want 10 years?  He ponders, should the respondent should sit and be subjected to uncertainty.  “Enough is enough.  It does not comfort you that justice is fair and reasonable.”

“My Lady, we live in the real world.  If I wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning, and I believe there’s an intruder in my house, it’s dark and I have no legs to walk on…”  He stops there… was waiting for him to say I’d shoot somebody too, but then he’d have to add in ‘4 times’ to be accurate and um, that kinda sounds bad.

Masipa still looks stern but slightly softer as Roux speaks.  She listens intently and takes notes.

Roux says the court was fair in dealing with Kim Martin and Mr. Steenkamp.

Very few people in the courtroom today.  Even Barry Bateman has given up on tweeting today.  They’re at the South Gauteng Courthouse today, not the usual North Courthouse.


There must be a reasonable prospect that another court would interfere with the sentence. Roux trying to argue that there’s no basis for determining what the SCA would consider reasonable.

Karyn Maughan is going to town on her gum right now.

Roux says Masipa should dismiss the state’s application, with cost…

“It should be the end”  “It’s been exhausted beyond the point of any conceivable exhaustion.”

And Roux’s done.  Phewww… I love when he’s brief.  So essentially his entire argument is based on emotion.  That it’s unfair to make Oscar sit around and wonder when this ordeal will finally be over.  Roux did not cite any legal cases.

Nel counters with a few last points saying they did not ignore evidence as Roux suggested, the evidence he referred to was rejected by the SCA.

Nel also emphasizes it is indeed strikingly inappropriate if the minimum sentence is 15 years and results in 6.

Masipa:  “I’ll be back…”  She takes a break to consider the arguments… and make sure that Arnold has the proper routing number.  Haha… kidding 🙂 … Kinda.

Masipa dismisses the state’s bid to appeal Oscar’s sentence.  Dismissed with costs.

Ulrich Roux Chimes In…

Listen to the hearing…

Twitter buzz…


Excerpt from HOT WATER Phelps vs Le Clos

From the Chapter…


“The last three months of my life have been some of the hardest times I’ve ever gone through, some of the biggest learning experiences I’ve ever had…I’m looking forward to having a much brighter future than I had in the past.” — Michael Phelps, December 2014

Swimming is a poor substitute for living.  In the florescent bathroom light there are no shadows, no dry warmth, no belonging.  When you’re in the water long enough, not only do you eventually lose the feel for it, you start to lose the feel for everything.  It’s like slipping.  Fear starts to creep in, then resentment, then hatred.  What do you hate?  The world.  Yourself. What more than that? IMG_2619

The dirty secret of professional sport is that the top athletes hate what they’re doing.  Oscar Pistorius hated it, O.J. Simpson hated it.  Many elite athletes privately profess to hate the daily grind involved.  Who would enjoy the intensity of that struggle day in and day out? 

There’s nothing noble about complaining in public about how cold the water is or how your shoulders ache, or how much your old man potentially fucked up your life. And sponsors don’t abide that kind of unheroic conduct. It’s honest but it’s uninspiring. The real trick is to be honest and inspired.  But in a real sense, when the stakes are as high as they are for the likes of Phelps and Le Clos, the person disappears behind the brand, and silently self-destructs behind the façade.  Yes, even Olympic champions, even the most decorated Olympic champion in history.

From      rs_634x850-151110132343-634.Michael-Phelps-Cover-FB-111015 (1)

 Lauer asked [the 22-time Olympic medallist] if he considered himself an alcoholic. When Lauer asked [Phelps] if he viewed the time of his arrest as a “cry for help,” Phelps answered, “I believe so. Yeah. I really do.”

Really? Did Michael see himself as an alcoholic


To read more…

HOT WATER by Nick van der Leek is available on Amazon 

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Hear more about the book and the inspiration behind it…




Expert Psychologist Discusses Oscar’s Narcissism

“Oscar was a disaster waiting to happen.  And everyone who witnessed his cross behavior, and didn’t caution him he shouldn’t own a gun, is actually complicit with what happened.  If you add all the incidents together, this was inevitable.” – Leonard Carr

A few weeks into trial in 2014, while the media and most expert contributors were
reluctant to make their opinions known [most still are today], expert psychologist Leonard Carr made no bones about saying what many of us were thinking…

“[Reeva] was in a typically abusive situation.” – Leonard Carr

From the Times Live article titled, Is Oscar Pistorius the Boyfriend from Hell?

Carr said the messages between Pistorius and Steenkamp suggested “a highly controlling relationship”.

“He controlled her with jealousy, with isolation. From these [messages] he looks like someone who is unable to really love. He doesn’t show any empathy for her; he doesn’t show any deep respect for her.”

Pistorius was “highly manipulative” and had “an overdeveloped sense of entitlement”, said Carr.

Nick and I have always believed that Oscar is a narcissist.  Despite the watered down test results from Scholtz, and the endless stream of sympathetic defense witnesses touting Oscar’s simply a man suffering from anxiety, a thorough investigation of Oscar’s life tells us something very different.  Something much darker and more frightening.  Although, at times, Carr expresses that he doesn’t believe Oscar’s a “bad” person.  Nick and I are not on that same page with Carr.  However, we do all agree Oscar is damaged.

“Oscar is a person who from infancy has always relied on mechanical, external prosthetic devices for a sense of wholeness and power, and his gun was no exception to that.  His gun was always on him – always a part of him.  I think it was totally natural for Oscar to pick up his gun the same way he’d pick up his prosthetics.” – Leonard Carr

Our motivation for our narratives has always been shining a blazing light on the truth.  So too, Leonard Carr.  In WHITE HORSE III, just released this week, we asked Leonard to contribute more of his fascinating views in the chapter titled The Bottomless Pit.

Today we had the opportunity to speak with Leonard some more.  In an hour long discussion we covered some of the topics that have been burning up social media.  Here are some of his responses:

What do you think about the absence from the state in countering the endless defense testimony from Scholtz and his experts?

CARR:  “I think the psychological evidence on both sides was incredibly weak.  For the state side, it was virtually non-existent.  And it would have been so simple to destroy the defense’s psychological evidence but the state never presented much of a case in that regard.”

“One thing you’ll notice about Scholtz’s report is that he’s talking from data based on tests and he hasn’t really integrated the data into observations.  For example, where he says that Pistorius shows no signs of narcissism, I mean, even if we take the Reeva Steenkamp story out of it, if you just look at someone with his kind of drive, his kind of career, sacrifices that he’s made; he’s driven this to get ahead, his behavior on the sports field… I mean you can from that pick up narcissistic traits.   To say that he has an absence of narcissism, then you have to ask well then how did he get to where he got to.  They don’t even have healthy narcissism.”

How did Oscar’s childhood/parents help shape his future?

CARR:  “His [Oscar’s] mother’s message, and they repeated it many times, was actually a very negative message.  The positive way of saying the message is ‘you are different than everybody else because you’re not an able-bodied person but in no way should that make you feel less than and no one should ever put you down because of it.’  But when you say to a child you are the same as everybody else and your stumps, your prostheses and Carl’s legs are exactly the same, what you’re doing is you’re rendering his disadvantages and vulnerabilities illegitimate.   Then put that with what he also said very proudly that his parents used to make him deal with bullying himself and go to the principal’s office alone without their support to fight his battles.  The fact of the matter is that to achieve equality in life, you have to build in handicaps for people who have got challenges.  I mean, that’s what they do in sport all the time.  So, he’s never been allowed to acknowledge his vulnerabilities, he’s never been able to admit weakness or pain or shortcoming or whatever it is, or to ask for help.”

What effect did it have on Oscar to teach him ‘there’s no such thing as I can’t’?

CARR:  “I perceive the Pistorius family as having a kind of sense of entitlement.  They’re like a sort of self-appointed royal family.  And everything they do, there’s always a suggestion of we’re extraordinary, and therefore, you know, we deserve special privileges.  And I think Oscar’s grown up in that atmosphere.  But remember there’s another message as well.  The weird thing is the double message that his father also rejected him at the point that he had his amputation.  So on the one hand there’s the entitlement and specialness but on the other hand there’s the rejection.”

“I think that Oscar’s a very wounded person.  And actually, if you want to know what I would loved to have been involved in, in this trial, if I had been given a role to pick, I would have wanted Oscar to plead guilty right at the beginning and then for me to have written a report for him in mitigation.  Because I think there’s a very very strong case in mitigation but of course, you can’t bring a strong case in mitigation if the person shows no remorse.”

Carl’s been pretty vocal lately including recently speaking to a school as a sort-of mentor for the students.  Yet, his claim to fame is basically that his (former celebrity athlete) brother killed somebody.  Isn’t that pretty narcissistic?  What’s the deal with him?

CARR:  “I think that his approach, even in the media, has been incredibly arrogant.  He gives me this impression of having this kind of holier-than-though approach.  Let’s not forget for a minute that Carl himself killed someone.  And the fact that they couldn’t find that he was drunk or whatever it is, and they kind of blamed the victim… but if you look at how the Pistorius’ operate, that seems to be their modus operandi.”

“I think the whole family has been cast into a public role.  I think, to put it crudely, I think they’re quite low-class.  They’re rough around the edges.  And Uncle Arnold’s got lots of money and now they’re playing this role of like self-appointed royalty.  Like the Middletons, they’re like suddenly cast into the spotlight after leading a relatively ordinary life, and I think that that’s what they’re playing to.”

Reeva didn’t fit Oscar’s usual mold for a girlfriend.  He historically dated young women, even teenagers at times.  But he worked hard to “woo” Reeva and win her, and she in turn seemed to ignore several red flags dealing with his nasty criticisms in order to stay with him.  Can you talk a little bit about the dynamics of narcissistic relationships?

CARR: “First of all with Reeva, there was the financial aspect.  Oscar was supporting her financially, and he was giving her parents money.  I think that very possibly, Reeva was an aspiring model and Oscar was like a bridge to get instant celebrity.  But I think this issue is actually the core of all the issues in the relationship.  Number one, to go where you started, Oscar is very low on emotional intelligence.  I would even go so far as to say Oscar’s not too bright in general.  I think Oscar’s poor performance is not because he’s a bad person, I think he genuinely doesn’t understand the issues.  That’s number one.  Number two, I think that he went out with little girls of 18 and 19 because that is his emotional level.  That’s because of all the issues we discussed and especially his lack of experience in [all] relationships in general because of his relationship with sport.”

“[Reeva] was way out of his league in terms of intelligence and sophistication, and social and intellectual and academic accomplishments.  So I think there was a sense of inadequacy there from the beginning.”  

[Carr acknowledges at this point he’s speaking graphically to explain his point] “Now, can you imagine as a man, you might look great in a suit and you might be on the front cover of Time Magazine, but you want to go to bed with a woman, you take off those prostheses and you have these horrible little stumps, it must creep a girl out.  Obviously in the context of a loving, established relationship, it’s not an issue, you know, because obviously abled people aren’t damned. But if you look at this kind of relationship, the appearance vs. the reality, in the bedroom Oscar’s not this Olympic champ.  For a person with a fragile ego, and his lack of emotional intelligence and relationship skills, I can’t imagine how well he would deal with that.  I can’t imagine he’d deal with that with maturity and finesse.”

“The younger women, from an unconscious pressure point of view, you’d feel much more in control with a young woman who’s being a sycophant than with an older, accomplished woman who’s more challenging and you know has had experience probably with other guys.”  

The recent “suicide attempt” story from prison was very bizarre.  What do you think that was all about?

CARR:  “I think that Oscar is a PR nightmare.  And I think the Pistorius family want their cake and to be able to eat it.  On the one hand they argue he’s so vulnerable and psychologically precarious that he deserves his special treatment… um, they go to court with a psychologist saying he’s fragile and suicidal.  When he acts fragile and suicidal [supposedly] they don’t want him to look like a pathetic, manipulative wimp, so they deny it.  He just fell out of bed and happened to cut his wrists.”

So you think he really did try to commit suicide?

CARR:  “Look, first of all, I think he’s a drama queen, so who knows.”

To read more of Leonard’s views on narcissism and Oscar, below are additional articles:

Pistorius Charmed the World with Idealised Image

Parenting in the Age of Oscar Pistorius

The Oscar Trial:  Aspasia and Psychologist Leonard Carr on Cliffcentral

Some of Scholtz’s BS



Test Results:

Results 1

Results 2

To read the full copy of Scholtz’s Psychological Report on Oscar [from Oscar’s time at Weskoppies in 2014] click here.

All three WHITE HORSE narratives are available on Amazon Kindle

Fullscreen capture 20160507 043749 AM      WH2 Cover      WH3 Cover









An Excerpt from WHITE HORSE III #OscarPistorius


From the Chapter:

In Court

“The way they act in court – they act like they own the court!” — Mikey Schultz speaking about the Pistorius family

Arnold in court 3

I looked at Uncle Arnold surveying his kingdom, taking in the little people of the gallery.  He wasn’t just glancing from one side of the gallery to the other, he was scanning.  It reminded me faintly of a Terminator

He had his back to the front of the courtroom, and for a long moment, he took in all of us.  Slowly, calmly, he took in each face. It had a calm, calculated quality about it, but the feeling I got wasn’t evil or menace, more satisfaction. All told Oom Arnold felt like things had turned out basically as he’d hoped, was the impression I got.

If this sounds easy to say after the fact, it wasn’t.  It was my observation at the time – to Marc, and via WhatsApp to Lisa. Something else that was bizarre was a white policeman barking at us just before the trial began.  He told us to turn off our cell phones, he warned us not to take any photos.  

Marc BatchelorI was a little shell-shocked.  I asked Marc: “If our phones are off, does that mean we can’t tweet…No man, I think he means turn off the sound of your phones.”

Then, shortly before Masipa arrived to take her seat I asked Marc a few quick questions about Justin Divaris.  Botha had mentioned him and I wondered whether Marc could fill in any of those blanks.  
Justin and Sam

“Are Justin Divaris and Samantha Greyvenstein still together?”

Marc told me they had gotten married, had had twins, but that one of the twins had died.

“Are Justin and Oscar still friends?”

Marc replied that at first they [Oscar and Justin] had remained friends, but subsequently Justin had felt Oscar had misled him, and thus, were no longer friends.

“Who did Justin call after Oscar called Justin?” [At 3:55:02 on February 14, 2013]

Justin called Major-General Shadrack Sibiyaa policeman the former head of the Hawks in Gauteng. 

I guess Justin just happened to have the head of the Hawks number on his phone, don’t most of us?

Sibiya, who has been found not guilty of fraud, and I think not guilty as well of gross dereliction of duty, and not guilty of gross misconduct, was Justin’s first port of call.

Sibiya then made a call to…

WHITE HORSE III is available now on Amazon.

Stay tuned for the final book in this series titled Justice Eventualis.

WH3 Cover


New Releases

BLOOD & SEAWATER  Blood and Seawater

Available on Amazon

Why was Laci Peterson murdered?

When was Laci Peterson murdered?

How exactly did Scott Peterson dump her body without anyone seeing him?

Even after the landmark court case, the prosecution and the jury couldn’t say exactly what happened, when or how, so what did happen?

Scott Peterson was convicted of first-degree, premeditated double murder. Trawling through the extended backstory of this fifteen-year-old case, the author finds obscure pieces to a familiar puzzle and contextualizes all the available information: court records, interviews, media reports, police reports, evidence, court exhibits, weather and ocean patterns. 

Within this paradigm the author shines the sharpest spotlight yet on the man who sits on San Quentin’s death row, awaiting his fate. Van der Leek recontextualizes the case, repeating two simple questions throughout:

How could Laci be taken advantage of? 

What was there to take?

As investigative photojournalist Nick van der Leek builds his case, it leads inexorably to a much darker question:

When did Scott Peterson start to plan Laci’s, and her unborn son’s, murder and disposal? 

Blood & Seawater dredges the grotesque mosaic of forces, circumstances and conveyors that lured Scott Peterson to the Dark Side, and ultimately, to murder Laci Peterson.


Available on Amazon

After five years it may seem all has been said and done on this case. Far from it. In his final narrative, true crime mastermind Nick van der Leek finally places the last pieces of the puzzle on the board. 

What precisely happened in the cubicle? Where was Reeva standing and how did she fall when she was shot? 

Van der Leek’s research potentially turns the entire case on its head – because his version, supported by forensic evidence and the autopsy photos, do not match the state’s version, the Mollett’s research, nor Oscar’s.

So – what does that mean?

Justice Eventualis is the 14th and last book, effectively the last word, on the Oscar Pistorius saga.

The author provides an in-depth review and analysis of the controversial Blade Runner Killer film. What did the film get right, what was wrong, and most unexpected of all, who was their source?

Besides digging into Oscar and Reeva’s backstories for the last time, the author provides the first extensively transcribed transcript – and commentary – of the defining SCA appeal of November 3rd, 2017. He discloses a few private, behind-the-scenes moments that transpired beyond the gaze of the television cameras. He also attended the final episode, the SCA verdict on December 3rd in person, one of a handful of journalists to do so. 

In his overview of South Africa’s highest profile criminal case, the author goes further than any other narrative, to find out what really happened that hot and humid Valentine’s night in Bushwillow Crescent.

How did Reeva Steenkamp die, and why?

DIABLO:  VAN BREDA  Fullscreen capture 20171103 105615 PM

Available on Amazon

What devilry hides in plain sight? 

What lies buried in the details, something not quite right?

True crime maestro Nick van der Leek sat in on Henri van Breda’s testimony-in-chief on Halloween 2017, as well as the state’s multi-day cross-examination. By sitting at arm’s length of the accused and the state prosecutor, Van der Leek absorbs a smorgasbord of direct, first-hand insights beyond the range of the live feed cameras.

Who is the strange young man at the centre of this trial, accused of murdering his own flesh and blood with an axe?

Van der Leek performs another meticulous analysis, this time casting an intuitive net over the accused’s marathon testimony. 

He deals with the young Van Breda recounting that terrible January night in 2015, distilling all the key micro expressions, idiosyncrasies and crucial body language the 23-year-old heir leaks while on the stand.

Van der Leek lays these out in scrupulous detail, showing where blocks of time don’t fit or are added, seemingly ex post facto. Besides a number of critical contradictions, the author also highlights a fascinating key “tell” in the accused’s court room poker game of poker.

Are there any instances of duping delight?

The author’s deep dive cross-references the police statement to the plea explanation to Van Breda’s testimony. It plumbs even greater detail than the state prosecutor, but ultimately reinforces many of Susan Galloway’s original arguments.

“A serious problem with Henri’s version of events, both in terms of the police statement and his – far more vague – plea explanation, is that the timeline doesn’t seem to add up.”

In the end, Van der Leek’s experience in the courtroom provides a chilling and at times, terrifying analysis.

“If Henri didn’t love his family then he hated and murdered them. And it’s Henri who gives us this most macabre detail of all, a detail he didn’t need to give, but gives us anyway: that whoever butchered his family, did so while laughing…”


“If one entertains the worst case scenario in this terrible story, the question becomes: what primary driving force could there possibly be to hate one’s own flesh and blood, enough to want to dispatch each in turn with an axe, and then revel in their suffering afterwards?”

They say God is in the details, but what about the Devil?


Available on Amazon

Is he guilty? Did Henri van Breda butcher his family to death with an axe? Indefensible skirts around simple questions and obvious answers in search of deeper, darker secrets. Why? What is the operative psychology shadow-boxing in that subliminal, out of sight place?

What’s hidden in plain sight that no one can see?

How does one defend the indefensible? Who are those involved in defending the indefensible, and what are their motivations? Why defend the indefensible to begin with? 

Investigative photojournalist Nick van der Leek, fresh from a triumphant run dealing with the enormous JonBenét Ramsey and Madeleine McCann archives, now brings his true crime scalpel to bear on home soil. He brings prescient insight into the distortions of the infamous trial heard in Keerom Street, Cape Town, the latter described evocatively as a kind of “Diagon Alley” of courtroom intrigue.

As for Van Breda: 

Who is he? 
What motive could he possibly have? 
What riddle is revealed behind the emergency call “chuckle”, and what is the answer to the riddle?
What value is there in prognosticating on a case before the verdict?

Using techniques honed through countless true crime interrogations, Van der Leek meticulously transcribes the infamous emergency call for the first time, performing a second by second analysis. 

In each instance links are provided to actual material, including up-to-the-second audio clips, court documents, case-relevant images, police statements, media coverage, social media commentary and highlights of the actual testimony.

Beyond the analysis, filtering, timelines, cross-referencing, his synthesis of an integrated psychology, Van der Leek encountered a mysterious man in black in Court 1, and the plot thickened…

EXTRADITION:  Third Trial and Conviction  1-Fullscreen capture 20170826 123540 AM-002

Available on Amazon

Extradition, the sixth book in Shakedown’s ongoing series, exposes a new narrative in the Amanda Knox case, one that none have definitively dealt with in great detail: The Nencini appeal in Florence. At a time when Knox and Sollecito were both earning multiple millions for their stories, the stakes of the Nencini appeal could not have been higher for everyone.

On Valentine’s Day in 2013, the prosecution in Perugia, Italy challenged Amanda Knox’s acquittal in court. Two days later Knox announced her book deal to the world. On March 26th , 2013, the re-appeal was granted. The proceedings ran for eleven court days over three months: from the end of September 2013 to January 2014. During this period Knox played a cat and mouse game, first declaring herself committed and willing to see justice done, and to have her day in court. But as the trial approached, Knox admitted she was afraid of the Italian authorities who’d supposedly abused her previously. Raffaele Sollecito did the same, eventually appearing in court yet he was not willing to testify. The morning after the verdict was announced, Knox appeared on Good Morning America while Sollecito disappeared. When police found him he was 25 miles away from the border of Slovenia. They confiscated his passport and “reminded” him of the court’s instruction that he was to remain in Italy. When Knox was asked if she’d co-operate with extradition, she demurred.

Extradition covers the maze craft beyond the walls of Perugia, and the extradition treaties between the U.S. and Italy. It delves into never before, or seldom seen, transcripts of Knox’s first and original conversations with her parents. Many have been transcribed and analysed in their entirety by the authors for the first time. 

The value of this narrative is in exposing the extraordinary maze that surrounds this enormous case, as it penetrates walls, scales the colossal mountain of evidence files and breaks down mirrors that have confuddled so many others. What lies at the center of the maze? What key is needed to unlock the labyrinth? For the first time, terrifying truths, thus far hidden by smoke and mirrors, entirely untouched until now, are revealed in gruesome detail. 

FOXY KNOXY FIGHTS BACK:  Second Trial and Acquittal Foxy Knoxy book cover

Available on Amazon

The fifth Shakedown narrative addressing the Amanda Knox case examines what precisely caused Mignini to lose. Besides the prosecution dropping the ball, something was brewing in the ether that allowed the defense to successfully apply tremendous pressure.

What was it?

The Shakedown team exposes this “machinery”, and explains just how well coordinated and cleverly orchestrated Knox’s defense effort was, even down to the outfits Knox and Sollecito wore on each trial day in 2010 and 2011.

The Foxy Knoxy narrative deals once and for all with the myth that her avatar was an innocent artefact of childhood cynically picked up by the media, and distorted, rather than actively inhabited by Foxy Knoxy herself.

The narrative also offers legal analysis for how, in hindsight, the prosecutor could have won one of the most notorious cases ever to pass through Italy’s legal meat grinder.

Perhaps the most significant insight is a new prism the authors shift into place, which brings not only the lives of Knox and Sollecito into sharp focus, but touchingly, Meredith Kercher’s as well.

DESPICABLE:  First Trial and Conviction 1-Fullscreen capture 20170622 065623 PM (1)

Available on Amazon

Ten years after her cruel and excruciating exit out of this world, can anyone say what the motive was for the murder of Meredith Kercher?

In DECEIT, DARK MATTER and UNDER SUSPICION, van der Leek and Wilson examined the immediate aftermath, and year that followed, of the crime that appalled Perugia, and the world. Fast forward to 2009, and the Shakedown team has taken a front row seat in Perugia’s halls of justice for the most globally talked about trial in history.

The American media, and Knox-supporters, touted there’s no evidence, Knox and Sollecito will be set free. But 100 witnesses and an entire year later, all would gasp when the Judge said Colpevole. Guilty! Who sealed Knox’s and Sollecito’s fate and what exactly did they say?

Van der Leek doesn’t mince words when he analyzes the veracity of the witnesses or the legal strategies at play.

DESPICABLE masterfully wades through the weeds and delivers the most compelling motive to date. Had the prosecutions applied the same psychology, would Knox and Sollecito still be free today?

UELI: Deus Ex Machina NEW COVER - 20170802 041444 PM

Available on Amazon

It made shocking headlines around the world. Reinhold Messner called it “A tragic day!” Most who heard it couldn’t believe it. What really happened to the world’s greatest mountaineer, a two-time recipient of the prestigious Piolet d’Or [Golden Ice Axe] on Nuptse? 

April 30th, 2017 was a dazzling, icy morning in the Himalayas. Did Ueli Steck fall because of an elementary error? Had he simply underestimated the mountain, or slipped during a momentary lapse of focus?

Using the tools of true crime analysis and deep diving research, freelance photojournalist and amateur climber Nick van der Leek attempts to solve perhaps the greatest mystery in mountaineering today. In a meticulous, systematic approach, he pieces together a cogent narrative of the much vaunted and beloved “Swiss Machine”. Van der Leek made contact directly with the climber less than a year before his death and began developing the first English narrative covering Ueli Steck’s amazing exploits in the mountains.

“You have to be honest with yourself – you can only do this for a certain period of your life.” – Ueli Steck, 2012

In UELI, Van der Leek revisits the well-known aspects of Steck’s legend, including his blistering 2 hour 22-minute run up the iconic Eiger “Nordwand”, Steck’s incredible 28-hour assault on Annapurna, arguably the world’s deadliest mountain, and his assault of all 82 Summits of the Alps in a single summer. He also covers lesser known terrain, such as Steck’s first ascent of Mount Dickey. He provides links in the narrative to videos, photographs and interviews of Steck’s most pertinent moments on and off the mountains. Van der Leek also provides transcripts of his early discussions with Steck in 2016, including the soloist’s childhood memories, and his transition from Swiss carpenter to world class Alpinist, in Steck’s own words.

As he builds and assembles each piece of a surprisingly convoluted puzzle, Van der Leek stumbles across a troubling back story brewing in the background during the lead up to Steck’s tragic fall from Nuptse. 


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An unauthorised biography…

“Do idylls like The Durrells do any harm?”

True crime maestro Nick van der Leek wields his scalpel towards the unlikeliest of targets: the Durrells and the literary heroes of his own childhood.

“Is the creation of a perfect world a perfect alibi? Are the idylls of the Durrells, and Enid Blyton, true idylls or are they idylls of penance, idylls perhaps anchored in suffering, idylls angling for redemption of some kind?”

Using his own diary, written during his first years in high school as reference material, Van der Leek plumbs the schisms between biographical fact and narrative fiction. By applying criminal psychology, he tests narrative authenticity and assiduously probes the narrators hidden behind them. 

“What risk is there in feeding children’s obsessive desire for escapism? Is there anything wrong with idylls, perfect worlds or preoccupations with what’s too-good-to-be-true?”

Is the business of escapism harmless or has a crime, even one against ourselves, been committed?

“…the irony of fairy tales is that they are born out of nightmares – and vice versa…”

A simple question opens a door to a creaking psychological crevasse. As usual, Van der Leek leads us bravely through a dangerous psychological ice fall, across a minefield of misdirection, through vales of tears and ultimately, deep inside the roaring core…

RESTLESS ANXIETY:  Society’s Misguided Attempt to Escape Distress in the Trump Era

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It’s not just America that is feeling a heightened sense of anxiety. The whole world is shifting in discomfort. Has America lost its mind? Is it 1984? Who is orchestrating this chaotic, ongoing barrage, and why? What is true, coming out of the White House, and what is not? Why has information been distorted and weaponized of late to the extent it has? What’s happening?

Gaslighting is a psychological technique used to effect extreme anxiety and confusion. Gaslighting tricks its target audience into distrusting their own memory, perceptions or judgment by systematically withholding factual information. In effect, it is a kind of psychological hacking through a systematic breakdown of our psychological firewalls.

On a national scale, gaslighting is a mass psychological warfare that operates in a similar manner to brainwashing. When exposed for long enough, people – and nations – lose their sense of self. Unable to trust our own judgments, we can start to question the reality of everything in our lives. Who can you trust? Trump’s message within this clamoring cacophony is simple: you can only trust me.

What should we do? How do we protect ourselves from psychological hacking? We can install a psychological antivirus before it’s too late…

In his most important narrative to date, bestselling author and investigative writer Nick van der Leek explores the insecure mind’s susceptibility to anxiety, and influence. He regards it as yet another “network” that can be colonized with terrifying implications: the American and global landscape can be occupied and captured from within.

D O U B T 3: The Madeleine McCann Mystery

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DOUBT 3 is a grim reconnaissance of dirt and graveyards, a brutal interrogation of the gritty undercurrents of intention and motive.

In its mission to find Madeleine, or some substantive evidence of her, the third narrative in this bestselling true crime series burrows down through obvious stratum into the subterranean, stinking caverns underlying this case.

“If Madeleine is invisible then we must resume our search for her not in the visible but in the invisible world…”

As such DOUBT 3 interrogates:

-The Paraiso Restaurante CCTV footage of May 3rd
-Carol Tranmer’s Police Interview
-Goncalo Amaral’s coffin theory
-Possible dates remains were moved
-Madeleine’s final resting place

Through atoms and germs, odours and intuitions, sulphur and smoke, Van der Leek and Wilson attempt to find a thread, a few crumbs or a particle to piece together a long-forgotten form into someone we knew once upon a time.

“Make no mistake, on the other side of all the nonsense, outside of time, some other version of events floats through the ether. That is what we want to get to. Not via a court room, that ship has sailed. Is the true story out of reach or are we up to the task of recognizing and grasping its threads?”

The author suggests that besides Madeleine, something else – something that belongs to all of us – also vanished from the Algarve on that day in early May, 2007.

The author navigates seaside sewers, recent interviews and long dead history in an effort to rescue the one, if not the other…

D O U B T 2: The Madeleine McCann Mystery

NEW doubt 2 madeleine mccann

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Buckets brimmed with glinting coins for all who came and played their part. Even so, Madeleine remained missing.

If DOUBT dealt a sweeping view over the vast Madeleine McCann case file, DOUBT 2 roosts over the main highlights of the case.

In DOUBT 2, Nick van der Leek once again boldly interrogates the haunting, not-quite-right, aftermath of Madeleine’s “abduction”.

•Time of death
•Had there been an autopsy, injuries sustained?
•Removal and disposal/s of Madeleine’s remains
•Three weeks after her death, what was used to transport Madeleine’s remains?
•Ultimate suppression of Amaral and others in court
•How the narrative was controlled
•How the pot of gold turned into a goldmine buried beneath the media mountain that sprouted, like a cinder cone volcano around this Missing Person’s Case

DOUBT 2, using a shoestring budget, attempts to go beyond the £11.1 million investigation that was shelved. It aims to go far beyond the £4 million Find Madeleine Fund that was drained dry during the course of an investigation into the disappearance of a little girl who some believed had never gone missing at all…

D O U B T: The Madeleine McCann Mystery

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Did the little girl at the centre of the most heavily reported missing-persons case in modern history ever go “missing” to begin with?

If Madeleine was never abducted, if she died on May 3rd, why was it reported as an abduction?

Despite the absence of a trial, what we have now is a fairly precise version of events from the McCanns themselves, a by-product of their relentless PR. We also know the original lead investigator, Goncalo Amaral’s, counter-narrative, now a legally defensible matter of public record.

The questions that arise from these opposing narratives are dead simple:

Which narrative is more credible?

Which narrator is more credible?

What was the motive behind all the publicity? Neither Madeleine nor her abductor ultimately benefited from the ongoing media barrage, so who did?

True crime maestro, Nick van der Leek, plumbs quagmires of confusion and a thicket of thorny inconsistencies to probe what lies beneath: the psychologies. What is the significance of “doctors” as suspects? Did it matter or mean anything that the McCanns and their cabal of friends in the Algarve were mostly doctors?

Peeling away the gossamer threads, over the course of just four days [April 29th – May 2nd], van der Leek intuits that very little was routine: not the weather, not where meals were eaten, not where or when they slept and not what they did as a family. But what were their routines when it came to other, murkier things, like sleeping patterns, cell phones and sedatives?

Drawing intangibles out of the darkness, van der Leek sews the vexing loose ends from several conflicting stories into a definite – if not definitive – end-result.

King of Freaks: The Saga of the West Memphis Three

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True crime’s rising stars Nick van der Leek and Lisa Wilson, fresh from the success of three trilogies dedicated to the unsolved JonBenét Ramsey case, have cast about for a new challenge.

In the West Memphis Three case, they find a heart of darkness to rival the webs of shadowy intrigue bedeviling Boulder Colorado in 1996.

“Having written about the unsolved Ramsey case,” writes van der Leek, “I was looking for a challenging case to rival and to sharpen the true crime saw even further. The West Memphis Three saga does precisely that.”

But where the Ramsey case was a murk of sophisticated smoke and mirrors and legions of chummy, high-powered lawyers working behind the scenes, as we’re about to see, this story is quite different. In Arkansas, at the heart of America’s crime infested capital, very little makes sense. Out of the woods a slew of unsophisticated folks emerge, each floundering in a self-made soup of blood, mud and twisted psychology.

“The irony, for me,” adds Wilson, “was how many supposedly sophisticated folks could be duped by the artless performances of the impoverished and the uneducated, and Echols’ especially.”

Getting stuck in the muddiness of our own sick minds, it turns out, is a fate common to rich and poor, genius and imbecile alike. King of Freaks navigates how and why this “getting stuck” happens, and the way through it when it does…

sequin star  2007-2012


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Is the Ramsey case unsolvable? What kind of alchemy is required to dig up new revelations decades after the JonBenét Ramsey case went cold? 

In the second Sequin Star narrative, the authors seek to build a brand new psychological case from the ground up.  They burrow deep through the darkest vestiges of the criminal archive and hold the Ramsey Intruder Theory up against real cases involving real intruders, like the Karla Brown murder and sexual assault from 1978.

The authors also test a myriad of inconsistencies in the Ramseys’ ever-evolving narrative. Why do they exist? What are these irksome inconsistencies covering up so many years later?

In addition to timeline critical events spanning 2007 – 2012, the second Sequin Star also interrogates:

–              Lighting inside the Ramsey home on the night of the murder

–              The northern neighbor Scott Gibbons’ eyewitness testimony

–              The Broken Playroom door

–              The flight itinerary of N2059W, John Ramsey’s personal plane

–              John Douglas’ profile of the killer

–              The Ramseys’ attitude to the media during the maturing phase of their saga

The narrator, investigative photojournalist Nick van der Leek, examines the Ramsey case file through the fiery psychological shafts of grief.  He masterfully casts over endless evidentiary fluff, revealing tangibles buried deep within the 20-year-old Ramsey canon.

Lisa Wilson, an L.A. based true crime researcher, meticulously assimilates and filters all available information to synthesize, from the cloud, the most cogent counter narrative yet.

“The second narrative in this series is solid,” Wilson says. “It expands on the theory of the first in many ways we didn’t expect, and neither will the reader.”

By applying an arsenal of modern investigative techniques, the authors have crystallized the unspoken horror haunting the Ramsey case in the starkest terms to date.  So many words.  So many years.  So much time and life lost.  What can be salvaged from the ashes of one little girl’s life?

sequin star  2000-2006

1-fullscreen-capture-20161107-020707-pmAvailable on Amazon

The sequin star trilogy interrogates the sixteen years of ‘post-truth’ surrounding the unsolved JonBenét Ramsey case.

The first narrative spans nine lawsuits, two books, John Ramsey’s first political campaign and the circumstances surrounding Patsy’s death – all during the first six years after the Grand Jury trial was railroaded. It also interrogates the psychological fabric holding these “sequins” together.

Besides testing aspects from the original timeline, the sequin star narrative examines the arch account of the Ramsey case; that treatise of ‘post-truth’ penned by the prime suspects themselves, as well as the writer of the arch counter-narrative, detective Steve Thomas.

“In this narrative,” writes LA-based true crime researcher Lisa Wilson, “we will seek parallels between some of these historiological concepts and the criminological elements of this case. The Logos is the first ‘day’ of Christmas, when ‘word’ is made ‘flesh’, when a star is born, where God enters into the world he has made in the form of a baby.”

“How this literally translates to this case,” adds van der Leek, “is through lawsuits. These lawsuits were essentially a bickering contest over semantics.”

From 2000 onwards the Christmas spirit is inverted. Instead of peace, joy and love for all mankind, words are made cash. Whenever the Ramseys won their suits, millions flowed back to them.”

Investigative journalist Nick van der Leek plumbs the Justin Ross Harris case to seek insight and potential allegory into how a reckless and distracted parent may attempt to conceal this fact.

“The Harris case induces a real star in the death of a child. The son is killed by the power of the sun acting in the closed cubicle of Harris’ vehicle. The test is whether this is intentional or not? Does Harris have a shiny record as a parent or a heart of darkness? Are Harris’ claims plastic or authentic?”

Through their sequin star narratives van der Leek as narrator and Wilson as researcher go far further into the human story and deeper into human psychology than the veneers of other narratives anchored to this particular crime.

The sequin star series is an attempt to understand through the Ramseys in Boulder what our society was and is becoming, and who we are becoming. Is there a cosmic significance to the extinguishing of a single tiny star in the curtain of night above a small hamlet? Can today’s society stand as JonBenét did, perched under a gigantic but artificial star on the edge of a Continental divide, and know what it is to fall from those dizzying, glittering heights into an abyss?


1-fullscreen-capture-20160927-050306-pmAvailable on Amazon

The third book in The Day After Christmas is twice the length of the previous two. This epilogue examining the aftermath of JonBenet Ramsey’s murder is chock-full of new revelations. A handful include:

Why are there no fingerprints on the Ransom Note? What hidden charge is buried in the Grand Jury’s True Bill? What is the significance of JonBenet’s My Twinn Doll? How does a knife connect the murder weapon to the murderer? What impact does Lockheed Martin – and money – have on any of this?

The Day After Christmas restricts the laser focus of true crime’s rising stars Nick van der Leek and Lisa Wilson to the year 1999. In their methodical approach to this case, the authors systematically close in on the money train and its itinerant mechanisms. As usual, psychological patterns are distilled from the ether. But beyond the insights and the evidence, what new and secret serum is buried in those glinting mechanical fangs, oiling the coils that have suffocated justice in this case? What machine drives the entire case?

The final narrative in this bestselling series probes the following areas for insights:

-The relevance of Mind Hunter and John Douglas to the JonBenet Ramsey case
-The Lindbergh kidnapping – dubbed “the biggest story since the resurrection” and “the Crime of the Century”
– The impact of Pete Hofstrom
– Behind the scenes revelations into the “Atlanta Fat Cats”
– The significance of the mysterious photo # 17.7
– The likelihood that John Ramsey did not break the basement window, and neither did an intruder
-The powerful symbolism behind money and the Myth of the MegaMachine


1-fullscreen-capture-20160927-050943-pmAvailable on Amazon

Most of the legal action surrounding the unsolved JonBenét Ramsey case has nothing to do with prosecuting the case. The premise of the second book in The Day After Christmas trilogy surgically removes the peripheral noise.

“What do we see? We see a case that involves a trifecta typical to the true crime genre. Sex, money and prestige underpin the triumvirate of power, and somehow this crime is a manifestation of all three. Thus far we have dabbled in the prestige but we’ve virtually not touched on sex and money. In this narrative we will deal with sex. What impact did sex have on the murder and cover-up of JonBenét?”



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“…where does the urge to kill come from and how do we get it if we don’t have it?…”

The first narrative in The Day After Christmas Trilogy focuses on the events immediately following the discovery of JonBenét Ramsey’s small blonde six year old corpse.

In this narrative the bestselling authors of The Craven Silence Trilogy attempt to prove the seemingly impossible. Three prime errors in the JonBenét Ramsey canon are examined, interrogated and if these popular true crime maestros are to be believed, rectified. The implications of these amendments to the canon are profound, hence a second Trilogy.

“In our first book of The Day After Christmas series we will attempt to show why the murder weapon is significant, and why mistakes in this area have seriously undermined all investigations thus far into this case. The black baseball bat is not only not a baseball bat, what’s more, it belonged not to Burke Ramsey but to another member of the Ramsey household. The broken window was not broken months before the murder. In this narrative we attempt to show why that is, and why it wasn’t broken by John Ramsey. By the end of this narrative we address exactly where JonBenét was murdered.”


1-fullscreen-capture-20160903-033548-amAvailable on Amazon

Where civilization ends savagery begins…

In their third narrative investigating the unsolved murder of JonBenet Ramsey the two bestselling authors of The Craven Silence 2 have uncovered some startling new evidence.

Is another boy from the Boulder neighborhood involved in the Christmas 1996 incident besides Burke? Why was an aborted 911 call made from the Ramsey residence on December 23rd?

Was John Ramsey having an affair?

Van der Leek and Wilson unravel secret after secret to uncover what lies beneath The Craven Silence.


1-fullscreen-capture-20160903-033321-amAvailable on Amazon

Rumor has it Burke Ramsey killed his sister. Once again dark stormclouds have been milling in the media around the Ramsey family. If the rumors are true has the 20 year old mystery finally been solved?

Are we really any closer to understanding why the six year old beauty queen was murdered, precisely where in the Ramsey home and exactly how?

In this sequel to the bestselling THE CRAVEN SILENCE true crime maestros van der Leek and Wilson shine a light where none have dared before. The authors peel back layer upon layer of misdirection obscuring the raw eddies of child psychology. What do the foremost experts on human anthropology say about aggression in children?

This second narrative in a series of three exposes countless contradictions in the statements of those first suspected of the crime. Were those initial suspicions valid after all, and if so, what is left, where is left for this “unsolved” case to go?


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Nobody knows who killed JonBenét Ramsey.

Despite the efforts of Colorado’s legendary super sleuth Lou Smit, the JonBenét Ramsey case has – to the present date – defied demystification. Smit, who cracked over 200 cases and had a 90% success record, devoted the last years of his life to finding JonBenét’s killer. Smit died in 2010 having failed to solve this confounding case. 6 years later, despite massive media attention and widespread public scrutiny the most famous of cold cases remains unsolved.

Now two rising stars of the true crime genre have put their heads together for their toughest assignment yet.

“The caseload involved is colossal. It’s overwhelming. At times I’ve felt like I was drowning; literally dying while I was investigating this case. I haven’t felt anything as bad on any other case; that should indicate what we’re dealing with here.” – Nick van der Leek, Photojournalist

But The Craven Silence is more than just an investigation into the murder of a beautiful little girl, it’s an investigation into the very basements of the human condition. To genuinely probe the cold desecrations of our common humanity, the authors move through the veneers of winter and Christmas to deeper and darker places.

“I can understand how this case obsessed Smit but ultimately it defeated him and just about everyone else. We’re trying to avoid getting bogged down or lost inside this twenty year old story; we’re trying to find something no one else has and when we do, stay humble.” – Lisa Wilson, bestselling author and blogger

In The Craven Silence the authors have burrowed behind Boulder’s chummy bureaucracy in search of not one murderer, but several…