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Ousted Pistorius detective quits South African police

"Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius stands in the dock during a break in court proceedings at the Pretoria Magistrates court February 20, 2013. R
"Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius stands in the dock during a break in court proceedings at the Pretoria Magistrates court February 20, 2013. R

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The South African detective, pulled off the investigation of athletics star Oscar Pistorius for murder after it emerged he himself faces attempted murder charges, has resigned from the force, police said on Thursday.

Warrant Officer Hilton Botha, the first officer on the scene after the Valentine's Day shooting of Pistorius's girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, was also criticized for mixing up key facts about the investigation at the "Blade Runner's" 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The charges were withdrawn but reinstated on February 4, 10 days before Steenkamp was shot.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.

(Reporting by Peroshni Govender; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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