Tuesday, February 19, 2013
''I THOUGHT I SHOT AN INTRUDER, I DID'NT KNOW IT WAS REEVA'' PISTORIUS BREAKS SILENCE ON SHOOTING OF GIRLFRIEND
South African Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius on tuesday insisted he had no intention of killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp as he gave a graphic account of the night he shot her dead, claiming he mistook her for a burglar when he woke up in the middle of the night.
No nonsense, Prosecutor Gerrie Nel had claimed Pistorius got up from bed, put on his prosthetic legs and walked seven metres before shooting Ms Steenkamp through a closed bathroom door.
Mr Nell said it showed it was a premeditated murder, adding there was 'a motive to kill'.
But in a statement Pistorius said he woke up to a sound in the bathroom believing it was an intruder and he felt vulnerable without his prosthetics.
He said he screamed at the intruder before firing shots through a bathroom door. He then realised Ms Steenkamp was not in bed and it then dawned on him that 'it could be her in there'.
Pistorius used a cricket bat to break open the bathroom door where she was slumped over in the toilet. He said she was still alive and called the paramedics before she died in his arms.
Pistorius went on: 'I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premeditated murder, as I did not plan to murder my girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.'
The couple went to sleep shortly after 10pm, Pistorius said, but in the middle of the night he woke up and thought an intruder had climbed in through his bathroom window.
He said he grabbed a 9mm pistol - which he kept under his bed after receiving death threats - and made his way in the darkness towards the bathroom door.
'As I didn't have my prosthetic legs on I was vulnerable,' he said. 'I fired a shot at the toilet door and shouted to Reeva to call the police.'
The defendant described how he was 'absolutely mortified at the death of his 'beloved Reeva'.
Pistorius began shaking and crying as his statement was read out, according to the South African Press Association.
Magistrate Desmond Nair ruled that the case was a schedule six offence - meaning premeditated murder - for the purpose of the bail hearing in Pretoria.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court the victim arrived at the house between 5pm and 6pm on Wednesday, and went to the bathroom after an argument between the pair.
He said that at 3am Pistorius got up from his bed, walked to the bathroom door and fired four shots through the closed door, hitting her three times.
'She couldn't go anywhere. You can run nowhere,' Mr Nel said.
He told the court Pistorius later told a friend he thought she was a burglar.
Mr Nel said: 'It was all part of the pre-planning. Why would a burglar lock himself inside the bathroom?'
Pistorius' lawyer, Barry Roux, said Steenkamp was not murdered, and there were a number of cases where men shot members of their own family through doors after mistaking them for burglars.
He also suggested that Pistorius broke down the bathroom door after the shooting to help Steenkamp.
'We submit it is not even murder,' Mr Roux said. 'There is no concession this is a murder.'
The bail hearing came as Steenkamp's funeral was held in her home town of Port Elizabeth.
Reeva Steenkamp was cremated at a memorial service attended by family and friends who had travelled from around the world. Six pallbearers carried her coffin, draped with a white cloth and covered in white flowers.
Her brother, Adam Steenkamp, said after the service: "Everyone is sad, understandably, but at certain points we were smiling whilst remembering Reeva, because we only have good memories of her."
He went on: 'There's a space missing inside all the people that she knew that cannot be filled again.
'We're going to keep all the positive things that we remember and know about my sister and we will try and continue with the things that she tried to make better. We'll miss her.'
The court hearing was adjourned until tomorrow