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Pistorius murder trial to resume

June Steenkamp

June Steenkamp: “One has to forgive, otherwise I will sit with all that anger”

The third day of the murder trial of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius is to begin shortly in Pretoria.

Mr Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to intentionally killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on 14 February 2013.

The 27-year-old double amputee shot the model and reality TV star at his home, saying he mistook her for an intruder.

On Tuesday, a second witness told the court she was awoken by the sounds of a fight on the day that Reeva Steenkamp, 29, was shot dead.

Estelle Van Der Merwe, a neighbour, said the row had lasted about an hour.

“It seemed like somebody was involved in a fight,” said Ms Van Der Merwe, who lives in the same gated Pretoria housing estate as the Paralympic athlete. “People were talking in loud voices.”

The argument woke her at about 01:56 local time (23:56 GMT). After that, she heard four loud sounds in succession.

The arrest of Ms Pistorius, a gold medal winner, astounded South Africa.


For the first time in South Africa, parts of the trial are being televised live, although some witness testimony, including that of Ms Van Der Merwe, is being excluded from TV broadcasts.

However, the audio of the entire trial is being aired.

Mrs Van Der Merwe said she had been irritated by the noise of the argument and placed a pillow on her head “in hope of falling asleep again”.

Tuesday’s hearing adjourned not long after the third witness, Charl Peter Johnson – husband to the first witness, Michelle Burger – had taken the stand.

Oscar Pistorius leaving court

Day two: Key moments of the trial

The second day of the trial began with defence lawyer Barry Roux quizzing Ms Burger about her account of hearing a woman’s screams, a man calling for help and then four gunshots.

South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp pictured in December 2012South Africa was stunned when the athlete shot dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp

The BBC’s Andrew Harding in court says the defence line was clear that as Ms Steenkamp was in a closed toilet with a closed window, the screams the witness said she heard could not have come from her.

Mr Pistorius was in the bathroom where the window was open, so the screams must have come from him.

Mr Roux also suggested expert evidence would prove that Ms Steenkamp would have been unable to scream between shots.

When details of the bullets hitting her head were read out, Mr Pistorius’s head dropped into his hands, our correspondent says.

At the start of proceedings on Monday, Mr Roux read out a statement from the athlete, giving his version of events of how Ms Steenkamp had died, saying he believed his girlfriend was in bed when he shot at the toilet door.

State prosecutors say Mr Pistorius planned the killing and shot Ms Steenkamp after a row.

This file aerial image taken from video shows the home of Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius in a gated housing complex in Pretoria, South Africa

Estelle Van Der Merwe, neighbour: “I heard sounds, it seemed like somebody was involved in a fight”

If found guilty of premeditated murder, he could face life imprisonment.

He has also denied charges of illegally possessing ammunition.

There are no juries at trials in South Africa, and his fate will ultimately be decided by Judge Thokozile Masipa.

Much of the case will depend on ballistic evidence from the scene of the shooting, correspondents say.


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 noise


    Mr Pistorius said he heard the bathroom window sliding open and believed that an intruder, or intruders, had entered the bathroom through the 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 made by the prosecution that he was on his prosthesis when he shot at the door.

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

  • 4. Bedroom


    At his bail hearing last year, Mr Pistorius said he went back to the bedroom after shooting at the toilet door, then noticed Ms Steenkamp was not in bed.

    Mr Pistorius said he then 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.

  • 6. Emergency calls


    Mr Pistorius told his bail hearing he called the manager of his guarded and gated housing complex and a private paramedic service. He then carried Ms Steenkamp downstairs.

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