Courts

Thursday 31 July 2014

Pistorius prayed by Reeva's body after shooting her

Neighbouring doctor tells how he arrived to find athlete crying beside model

Aisling Lainn in Pretoria

Published 07/03/2014|02:30

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Oscar Pistorius, puts his hand to his face while listening to evidence from a witness speaking about the morning of the shooting in court on the fourth day of his trial at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Thursday, March 6, 2014.  Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Marco Longari, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius, puts his hand to his face while listening to evidence from a witness speaking about the morning of the shooting
Barry Roux, the lawyer defending Oscar Pistorius, has been grilling prosecution witnesses (AP)
Barry Roux, the lawyer defending Oscar Pistorius, has been grilling prosecution witnesses (AP)

OSCAR Pistorius wept and prayed over the prone body of Reeva Steenkamp after shooting her, begging God to "please let her live, she must not die", a court heard.

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Johan Stipp, a doctor living nearby who rushed to the scene after hearing shots and screams, said he found Pistorius crouched over the model trying to help her.

"I went nearer and as I bent down I noticed a man kneeling on her left side. He had his left hand on her right groin and his right hand second and third fingers in her mouth," he said.

"I remember the first thing he said when I got there was: 'I shot her, I thought she was a burglar and I shot her'."

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Dr Stipp said that as he examined the 29-year-old's body, there were "no signs of life". He said her pupils were fixed and dilated, she had no pulse and he could see "brain tissue" mixing with blood and hair from the gunshot wound. She also had wounds to her right thigh and right upper arm, he added.

"She was clenching down on Oscar's fingers as he was trying to open her airway," he said.

Pistorius rocked forwards as if preparing to be sick. He kept his head down, his shaking hands locked behind his neck.

"Oscar was crying all the time, he prayed to God: 'Please let her live, she must not die'," he said. "At one stage he was praying that he would dedicate his life and her life to God if she would just only live and not die that night."

Asked by Barry Roux, Mr Pistorius' lawyer, if he believed the athlete was genuine in his grief, he responded: "He looked sincere to me. He was crying."

Mr Stipp was the seventh witness in the trial of the athlete for the premeditated murder of his girlfriend by shooting her through a locked lavatory door at his home in Pretoria on Valentine's Day, 2013. Pistorius claims he thought Steenkamp was an intruder. The prosecution say he shot her deliberately after a row.

 

Dr Stipp said he was awoken by "three loud bangs" which he believed were gunshots.

"I got out of bed and went to the balcony. As I looked out trying to ascertain where it was coming from, I heard screaming," he said. "It sounded to me like it was a female."

The court was shown aerial photographs that illustrated that Mr Stipp is the closest person to have heard the incident to give evidence so far.

He said that as he went out to his balcony after calling security, he heard three more bangs and a man's voice shouting for help.

He said he decided to go over to help, thinking children might be involved in a "family tragedy".

"I went towards the front door," he said. "There was a lady standing there. I said I was a doctor and asked if I could be of assistance. She showed me through the door and towards the stairs where there was a lady lying on her back."

Dr Stipp's account could be helpful to Pistorius.

Firstly, it undermines the evidence of two other witnesses, who both said screams preceded the first gunshots.

Secondly, the doctor's recollection of two distinct sets of bangs supports the previously-stated case of the defence: that the other witnesses confused gunshots with the sound of Pistorius knocking down the bathroom door with a cricket bat.

The case continues. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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