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Pistorius in fresh trial grilling

Clockwise from top left - South Africa State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, Oscar Pistorius, and Reeva Steenkamp's mother June

Oscar Pistorius trial day 19 – in 60 seconds

Oscar Pistorius is facing a third day of cross-examination at his murder trial, a day after the prosecution tried to portray him as a selfish liar.

On Thursday, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the South African athlete had an enthusiasm for firearms.

He also said the Olympic and Paralympic runner was contemptuous of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Mr Pistorius, 27, admits killing Ms Steenkamp but denies murder, saying he mistook her for an intruder.


He again insisted in court in Pretoria on Thursday that the shooting on 14 February last year was a terrible accident.

Mr Pistorius said he had not intended to pull the trigger, even to fire at an intruder, and could not explain why he fired four shots through a toilet cubicle door.

“I didn’t have time to think about it,” he said in a trembling voice.

Mr Nel, known as the “bull terrier” in South Africa for his fierce questioning, set out what the prosecution believed happened in the early hours of 14 February 2013 in Mr Pistorius’ Pretoria home.

He said the two had an argument in the bedroom, and Ms Steenkamp ran screaming into the toilet.

The chief prosecutor showed a police photograph of the bedroom, taken three hours after the shooting, which he said contradicted Mr Pistorius’ account of where various items – including electric cooling fans and a duvet – had been placed at the time of the shooting.

“Your version is a lie,” Mr Nel said – something the defendant denied.

Mr Nel also suggested Mr Pistorius was only concerned about himself during the couple’s three-month relationship.

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

The double amputee faces life imprisonment if convicted of murdering the 29-year-old model.

If he is acquitted of murder, the court must consider an alternative charge of culpable homicide, for which he could receive up to 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.


3D impression of Pistorius house






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  • 1. 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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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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