Friday 26 December 2014

'I love you' – the Valentine's note that returned to haunt Pistorius

Prosecution ends cross-examination

Aislinn Laing Pretoria

Published 16/04/2014 | 02:30

Oscar Pistorius rubs his eye in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, April 15, 2014, after earlier questioning by state prosecutor Gerrie Nel.
Oscar Pistorius rubs his eye in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, April 15, 2014, after earlier questioning by state prosecutor Gerrie Nel.
Oscar Pistorius holds his head in his hands as he listens to evidence being given in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, April 15, 2014 after questioning by state prosecutor Gerrie Nel, had earlier finished.
State prosecutor Gerrie Nel questions Oscar Pistorius in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, April 15, 2014.
Reeva Steenkamp
Oscar Pistorius
Carl Pistorius, brother of Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius, reacts during the latter's trial at North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria April 15, 2014.

REEVA Steenkamp wrote a Valentine's card to Oscar Pistorius to be opened hours after he shot her dead, telling him: "I think today is a good day to tell you that I love you."

The model had also neatly wrapped a wooden picture frame with four photographs of the couple together and attached a pack of heart-shaped sweets to the outside with a card.

But instead of opening the gift, the Paralympic champion was taken into police custody after shooting Ms Steenkamp dead through a locked bathroom door at his Pretoria home.

When he did eventually read the message and open the present on what would have been her 30th birthday in August last year, his family said he cried "for a week".

"Roses are red. Violets are blue. I think today is a good day to tell you that I love you," the model wrote.

"The card said Ozzy, with some hearts and a squiggle," a weeping Pistorius told his murder trial in Pretoria. It was signed "Reeves" with a smiley face and three kisses, he added.

In earlier evidence about the Valentine's Day gift, he said he had joked about ripping it open the night before when he got home from work to find it on the kitchen counter, but his girlfriend had stopped him.

"Reeva told me I'm not allowed to open it until the next day, so I didn't open it," he said.

The model had tweeted of her excitement about the day before she died, writing: "What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow??? #getexcited #ValentinesDay." She also wrote: "It should be a day of love for everyone... may it be blessed!"

In his final day in the witness box, Pistorius (27) described the moment he realised his girlfriend was in the lavatory, rather than a suspected intruder.

He told how he kicked and shoulder-charged the locked lavatory door in an attempt to open it, before hitting it with a cricket bat. After breaking a hole in the door and unlocking it, he tried to lift Ms Steenkamp out.

"I crouched over her and I put my left arm underneath her right arm and I checked to see if she was breathing or she had a pulse," he said. "I heard her breathing so I tried to get her up and out of the toilet."

He was asked by Gerrie Nel, the prosecutor, why he stopped screaming. "Wouldn't you have been in a greater panic when you saw her?" Mr Nel asked.

"I didn't know what the purpose of screaming would be. I was broken, overcome with sadness, I was crying," the athlete replied. "I was talking to her all the time, saying, 'Baby, please hold on, Jesus please help me'."

Mr Nel challenged Pistorius to take the blame for what happened but the athlete repeatedly declined to do so, saying he acted thinking his life was in danger.

"We should blame somebody. Should we blame Reeva? She never told you she was going to the toilet," Mr Nel said.

"No, my lady," Pistorius replied.

"Should we blame the government?" Mr Nel pressed, adding: "Who should we blame for the Black Talon rounds that ripped through her body?"

Pistorius responded that they were the ammunition appropriate for the 9mm Parabellum he used. Mr Nel concluded by repeating the claim he has made throughout Pistorius's five days of cross-examination: "Your version is not only untrue but it's so improbable that it cannot reasonably be possible."

He told the athlete that despite his account of firing on a suspected burglar, "on the objective facts and circumstantial evidence", the court would find him guilty of premeditated murder. "You fired four shots through the door whilst knowing that she was standing behind the door," he said.

Mr Nel concluded his cross-examination and handed back to the defence team, which indicated that it would call more witnesses.

A two-week adjournment starts tomorrow. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

Promoted articles

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News