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Pistorius ‘had loving relationship’

Oscar Pistorius holds his head in his hands as he listens to evidence being given in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday March 24, 2014

LIVE: Coverage of murder trial of Oscar Pistorius. May include graphic evidence

The lawyer of Oscar Pistorius, the athlete accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has denied claims the couple were unhappy.

Barry Roux emphasised that among hundreds of “loving” text messages, only four showed signs of arguments.

He made his case while cross-examining a police captain who had given evidence about the couple’s mobile phones.

Mr Pistorius denies deliberately shooting his girlfriend last February, saying he thought she was an intruder.

The trial has now entered is fourth week, with the prosecution expected to wrap up its case before Friday.

The defence is particularly focusing on text messages and calls extracted from the couple’s mobile phones by South African police Capt Francois Moller.

Mr Pistorius previously said he had forgotten the password to his iPhone and investigators went to the US shortly before the trial began to meet Apple officials to try and gain access to it.


‘Jealous and possessive’

Mr Roux tried to demonstrate that Mr Pistorious and Ms Steenkamp had arguments but these were soon resolved, the BBC’s Pumza Fihlani reports from court in Pretoria.

Many of the text messages exchanged between the couple are affectionate in tone and show they were in love, the defence argued on Tuesday.

On Monday Capt Moller revealed he had been able to extract some 35,000 pages’ worth of messages from Ms Steenkamp’s phone.

He said that 90% of the messages between the couple were loving, but he had picked out exceptions.

In one message sent on 27 January 2013, Ms Steenkamp wrote: “I’m scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me and of how you react to me.”

June Steenkamp, mother of Reeva Steenkamp, left, with unidentified woman leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, 24 March 2014.Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, June Steenkamp, has been in court to hear the prosecution’s evidence

Oscar Pistorius leaves after his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, in Pretoria, on 24 March 2014There is intense media interest in the case due to Mr Pistorius’ status as a sporting hero in South Africa

Screen showing messages between Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar PistoriusA long message from Reeva Steenkamp to Oscar Pistorius was read out in court on Monday

The message was sent after the couple had a row when he accused her of flirting with another man at a friend’s engagement dinner – weeks before he shot her dead.

In another message written a week before her death, she said: “I can’t be attacked by outsiders for dating you and be attacked by you – the one person I deserve protection from.”

Correspondents say some of these messages could prove extremely damaging for Mr Pistorius.

Ms Steenkamp’s messages paint a picture of the athlete as a jealous and possessive boyfriend prone to anger.

The texts between the couple also suggest Mr Pistorius asked Ms Steenkamp to keep quiet over an incident in January 2013 where he allegedly fired a gun at a restaurant – another charge he denies.

“Angel please don’t say a thing to any one… I can’t afford for that to come out,” he wrote.

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Oscar Pistorius murder trial mobile phone messages

Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius

  • “I was not flirting with anyone today I feel sick that you suggested that” (Reeva Steenkamp, 27 January 2013)
  • “I’m scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me and how you will react to me” (Reeva Steenkamp, 27 January)
  • “I do everything to make you happy and to not say anything to rock the boat with you” (Reeva Steenkamp, 27 January)
  • “I can’t be attacked by outsiders for dating you and be attacked by you – the one person I deserve protection from” (Reeva Steenkamp, 8 February)
  • The court heard the couple called each other “Angel” and “Baba”
  • “Angel please don’t say a thing to anyone…Darren told everyone it was his fault. I can’t afford for that to come out” (Oscar Pistorius, 11 January 2013 following alleged shooting incident)

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Trial extended

The trial was due to end this week but has been extended and will now run until the middle of May.

The prosecution says it will call upon four more witnesses before closing its case.

The defence team will then call upon its own witnesses, including Mr Pistorius himself.

Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius trial day 14: Key moments

Last week the trial heard evidence from ballistics experts and computer forensic teams who described the sequence and timing of the shots that killed Ms Steenkamp.

Mr Pistorius is a double amputee who holds six Paralympic medals and competed in the 2012 Olympic Games.

The prosecution accuses him of intentionally shooting Ms Steenkamp – a model, reality TV celebrity and law graduate – after an argument.

But the athlete maintains he believed his girlfriend was in bed and that an intruder had entered the bathroom when he shot at the toilet door in the early hours of 14 February 2013.

There are no juries at trials in South Africa, and his fate will ultimately be decided by the judge, assisted by two assessors.

If found guilty, the 27-year-old – dubbed the “blade runner” because of the prosthetic limbs he wore to race – could face life imprisonment.

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