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Pistorius: I did not pick on Reeva





















Oscar Pistorius









Live coverage of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. Warning – may contain graphic testimony








South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has denied “picking on” his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, as his cross-examination continues.

He was commenting on a mobile phone message Ms Steenkamp had sent him.

The Paralympian also denied ever shouting at her and regretted never telling Ms Steenkamp he loved her.

Mr Pistorius denies murdering his girlfriend, saying he accidentally killed her after mistaking her for an intruder.

Prosecutors say Mr Pistorius intentionally killed Ms Steenkamp on 14 February last year by firing a gun through a bathroom door at her after a row at his Pretoria home.

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The 27-year-old Olympic and Paralympic sprinter, who is a double amputee, faces life imprisonment if convicted of murdering the 29-year-old model, reality TV celebrity and law graduate.

As the cross-examination resumed, chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel suggested that Mr Pistorius should have apologised to Ms Steenkamp’s family in private, rather than in court as he opened his defence on Monday.

The athlete replied that he had not had the opportunity and had been unable to find the correct words.

When pressed, he said he apologised for “taking the life of” Ms Steenkamp.

In an interview with the UK’s Daily Mirror newspaper, her mother, June, said the apology “left me unmoved. I knew it was coming”.

She said: “He has been very dramatic, the vomiting and crying… I don’t know whether he’s acting.”

In court, Mrs Steenkamp shook her head as Mr Pistorius was taken through several Whatsapp messages, which Ms Steenkamp had sent.


June Steenkamp, mother of Reeva Steenkamp, in court in Pretoria, 10 AprilReeva Steenkamp’s mother, June, again followed Mr Pistorius’ testimony closely

In one, she wrote: “You have picked on me incessantly since we got back from Cape Town.”

Asked to comment, Mr Pistorius said: “I don’t feel like I picked on her incessantly – maybe we were having a rough time in our relationship.”

Mr Nel, known as the “bull terrier” in South Africa for his fierce questioning, also suggested that Mr Pistorius was concerned about himself during their relationship.

“It was all about you Mr Pistorius,” he said, repeatedly.

As well as denying ever shouting or screaming at Ms Steenkamp, the athlete said he had never shouted at a previous girlfriend, Sam Taylor, as she had testified earlier in the trial.

On Wednesday’s dramatic first day of questioning by Mr Nel, the South African athlete became distraught as he was shown a graphic photo of Ms Steenkamp after her death.

An emotional Mr Pistorius turned away from the image on a monitor screen and said: “I’ve taken responsibility… but I will not look at a picture where I am tormented by what I saw and felt that night… I remember. I don’t have to look at a picture, I was there.”

Earlier on Wednesday, while being questioned by his lawyer Barry Roux, Mr Pistorius told the court he had tried to revive Ms Steenkamp, who was hit by three of four pistol rounds he fired through the door.

“I checked to see if she was breathing and she wasn’t,” he said. “I could feel the blood was running down on me.”

He said he had managed to carry Ms Steenkamp downstairs, where neighbours had tried to administer first aid before paramedics arrived.

“The paramedics arrived. They asked for some space to work so I stood up,” Mr Pistorius said. “Reeva had already died whilst I was holding her, before the ambulance arrived, so I knew there was nothing they could do for her.”

Before Mr Roux ended his questioning, he asked Mr Pistorius if he had intentionally killed Ms Steenkamp.

“I did not intend to kill Reeva or anybody else for that matter,” he replied.

If Mr Pistorius is acquitted of murder, South African law stipulates that the court must consider the separate, lesser charge of culpable homicide, or manslaughter, for which he could receive between six and 15 years in prison.

Mr Pistorius also faces charges of illegally firing a gun in public and of illegally possessing ammunition, both of which he denies.

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





INTERACTIVE


3D impression of Pistorius house



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  • 1. Balcony


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    Balcony

    Mr Pistorius said in his statement at the start of the trial that he woke in the early hours and walked on his stumps to the balcony, pulled in two fans, closed the sliding door and drew curtains. He said that shortly before he had spoken to Reeva, who was in bed beside him.

    He said he rejected prosecution claims that a witness heard arguing coming from the house before the shooting.



  • 2. Bathroom window


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    Mr Pistorius said he heard the bathroom window sliding open and believed that an intruder, or intruders, had entered the bathroom through a window which was not fitted with burglar bars.

    “Unbeknown to me, Reeva must have gone to the toilet in the bathroom at the time I brought in the fans,” he said.

    Mr Pistorius said he approached the bathroom armed with his firearm, to defend himself and his girlfriend, believing Ms Steenkamp was still in bed.



  • 3. Shooting


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    Both sides agree four bullets were fired. Ms Steenkamp was hit three times.

    Mr Pistorius said he fired his weapon after hearing a noise in the toilet which he thought was the intruder coming out of the toilet to attack him and Ms Steenkamp.

    He said he was in a fearful state, knowing he was on his stumps and unable to run away or properly defend himself.

    Mr Pistorius said he rejected claims that he was on his prostheses when he shot at the door.

    A witness told the trial she woke to hear a woman screaming and a man shouting for help. She said that after the screams she heard four shots.



  • 4. Bedroom


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    Mr Pistorius said he went back to the bedroom after shooting at the toilet door, still shouting for Reeva. Lifting himself up onto the bed, he felt over to the right hand side of it and noticed Ms Steenkamp was not there.

    Mr Pistorius said this was when he realised she could have been in the toilet.



  • 5. Toilet door


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    Mr Pistorius said he went back to the bathroom but the toilet was locked, so he returned to the bedroom, pulled on his prosthetic legs, turned on the lights before bashing in the toilet door with a cricket bat.


    Forensics expert Johannes Vermeulen told the court that the height of the marks on the door caused by the cricket bat suggest Mr Pistorius was on his stumps at the time.



  • 6. Emergency calls


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    Mr Pistorius’s defence team say he then called security at the gated housing complex and a private paramedic service before carrying Ms Steenkamp downstairs.

    A security guard claimed it was the other way round, and he had called Mr Pistorius first after reports of gunfire. However, phone records shown to the court revealed Mr Pistorius called the estate manager at 3:19am, a minute later he called the ambulance service and at 3:21am he called estate security.

    A minute later he received an incoming call – estate security calling him back.


    According to police phone expert Francois Moller, Mr Pistorius called his friend Justin Divaris a short time later and just after 4:00am he called his brother Carl.


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