Monday 22 December 2014

Pistorius: 'I have a responsibility to Reeva and myself to tell the truth'

Published 09/04/2014 | 09:58

Jane Steenkamp (left), Reeva Steenkamp's mother is comforted by a relative after her dead daughter's picture was shown on screen during the trial of Oscar Pistorius.
Oscar Pistorius arrives at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Aimee Pistorius, sister of South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, reacts during her brother's trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria April 9, 2014.
Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius (C) arrives ahead of his trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria April 9, 2014

Oscar Pistorius told his murder trial today that girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp died in his arms after he shot her in his home.

The double-amputee runner was giving evidence for a third day, returning to the witness box after weeping and wailing yesterday while describing the moment he realised he had fatally shot his girlfriend by mistake.

He said he thought an intruder was in the house.

In early evidence today, Pistorius mostly kept his composure, though he often paused and his voice quavered in apparent distress while describing what he said were his desperate attempts to help the 29-year-old model after shooting her through a closed toilet door.

"Reeva had died while I was holding her," Pistorius said after describing how he put his fingers in her mouth to try to help her breathe and put his hand on her hip to try to stop bleeding from one of several gunshot wounds.

Pistorius, 27, said he felt "helpless" and wanted to take Steenkamp to a hospital, but a neighbour advised him to wait for paramedics to arrive. Police later appeared on the scene.

He said: "I asked a policeman if I could wash my hands because the smell of the blood was making me throw up. Every time I saw Reeva, I got sick. So I stayed more inside the kitchen. I sat in the pantry against the washing machine."

He was being led in questioning by chief defence lawyer Barry Roux and will be cross-examined later by prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who maintains the Olympian killed Ms Steenkamp after an argument.

Pistorius is charged with premeditated murder and could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted of that charge.

He broke down yesterday as he recalled smashing open the toilet door through which he shot Steenkamp in the early hours of February 14 last year.

He sobbed and howled in court, causing the trial to be adjourned.

It is now the turn of the prosecution and Gerrie Nel who jumped straight for the jugular today with the line "Admit it. You shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp. Let's get to the truth".

The trial continues.

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