News Africa

Monday 22 September 2014

Pistorius trial: Athlete breaks down and admits 'going through a tough time'

Published 26/03/2014 | 11:05

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Pistorius crying in court
Oscar Pistorius and his aunt Lois Pistorius, right, hug after the prosecution closed it case in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Oscar Pistorius and his aunt Lois Pistorius, right, hug after the prosecution closed it case in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Oscar Pistorius wipes tears from his face as he sits in the dock during his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
Oscar Pistorius wipes tears from his face as he sits in the dock during his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

OSCAR Pistorius has said he is going through 'a tough time" in a rare comment after the prosecution closed its murder case against him.

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Breaking his silence for the first time since the trial started, the Paralympian told reporters there is "a lot of stuff ahead of us" as his defence team prepares to launch their case on Friday.

Pistorius's lawyer, Brian Webber, said the athlete would "likely" take the stand at the start of the defence's case. The athlete is selling his Pretoria mansion to cover the legal costs of the trial.

Yesterday, his defence counsel, Barry Roux, sought to show the couple were in a loving relationship, noting they often exchanged compliments, messages of affection and said they missed each other.

He showed Pretoria's High Court a photograph of the model wearing a hoodie and blowing a kiss to the athlete just a month before her death, and footage of the couple kissing at a convenient store in Pretoria.

Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel questioned the relevance of the CCTV footage and signalled the messages of affection were short, compared to their longer, emotional arguments.

On Monday, text messages shown in court painted a picture of a jealous and possessive boyfriend who often "snapped" at Ms Steenkamp and accused her of flirting with other men.

In a message sent on 27 January, Ms Steenkamp wrote: "I'm scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me."

The model said she felt "picked on" and "attacked" by the one person she deserved protection from - referring to the athlete.

A screenshot from CCTV footage shown in court in the trial of Oscar Pistorius Pistorius sobbed in court as the messages were read out.

Police IT expert Captain Francois Moller accessed more than 1,000 exchanges between the couple on Whatsapp and other phone messaging applications. He said 90 per cent of them were loving.

He said he received as evidence two Blackberrys, two iPhones, two iPads and a Mac computer from Pistorius's house.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year. Prosecutors argue he intentionally shot and killed the 29-year old model following a domestic dispute.

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

If Pistorius is found guilty, he could face life imprisonment.

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