Sunday, Nov 23, 2014

‘I took Reeva’s life’, Oscar Pistorius tells South African court

Oscar Pistorius becomes emotional during his trial at the high court in Pretoria. (Reuters) Oscar Pistorius becomes emotional during his trial at the high court in Pretoria. (Reuters)
Reuters | Pretoria | Posted: April 9, 2014 6:56 pm

South African state prosecutors started cross-examining Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius on Wednesday, vowing to “get to the truth” surrounding the killing of Pistorius’ girlfriend on Valentine’s day last year.

“You killed Reeva Steenkamp, didn’t you?” prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked bluntly at the start of questioning, to which Pistorius, who is accused of murder, responded that he had made a mistake.

Earlier, Pistorius, fighting back tears, told the court about the immediate aftermath of the shooting and how he desperately tried to revive Steenkamp, who was hit by three of four pistol rounds fired through a locked toilet door.

Pistorius, who faces life in prison if convicted of murder, says the killing was a tragic error and that he fired after mistaking her for an intruder.

“I checked to see if she was breathing and she wasn’t,” the double amputee told the Pretoria High Court, describing his desperate attempts to pick up the 29-year-old law graduate and model, who pathologists said had been mortally wounded by one shot to the head.

“I could feel the blood was running down on me,” Pistorius  said.

He said he eventually managed to carry Steenkamp down the stairs where neighbours tried to administer first aid before paramedics arrived.

But Pistorius said he knew that Steenkamp – with whom he said he was planning to buy a house – was already dead.

“The paramedics arrived. They asked for some space to work so I stood up,” he said, his voice quavering with emotion.

“Reeva, Reeva had already died whilst I was holding her, before the ambulance arrived, so I knew there was nothing they could do for her.”

Oscar Pistorius told a South African court on Wednesday that his girlfriend died in his arms, blood pouring from her body, as he tried to revive her after shooting her by mistake.

Facing questioning from prosecutor Gerrie Nel for the first time in his murder trial, Pistorius admitted killing Reeva Steenkamp at his home on Feb. 14 last year but said “I made a mistake”.

The double amputee Olympic and Paralympic sprinter, once revered the world over for his triumph over adversity, faces life in prison if convicted of the murder of Steenkamp, a 29-year-old law graduate and model.

His defence hinges on his contention that he though he was firing at an intruder when shot Steenkamp through a toilet door in his luxury Pretoria home. The prosecution aims to show he was a hot-headed character who loved to play with guns.

Pistorius, fighting back tears, told the court how he desperately tried to revive Steenkamp, who was hit by three of four pistol rounds he fired through the door.

“I checked to see if she was breathing and she wasn’t,” he said. “I could feel the blood was running down on me,” Pistorius  said.
Pathologists said she was mortally wounded by one shot continued…

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