News

Oscar Pistorius says Reeva died in his arms after 'accident'

Reeva Steenkamp
Reeva Steenkamp

THERE were tears, drama and unexpected revelations on the first day of arguments in what is expected to become South Africa's most compelling trial since the end of Apartheid.

The day, in a crowded and unruly courtroom in Pretoria, hinged on the magistrate's acceptance of the prosecution's argument that Olympian Oscar Pistorius should be charged with premeditated murder.

As the 26-year-old athlete hunched forward sobbing uncontrollably, news reached the court that the coffin of his dead girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, had arrived at her funeral hundreds of miles away in Port Elizabeth.

After a long morning in which the defence and prosecution sparred over the nature of premeditation, proceedings burst into life as the magistrate said he could not rule out the notion that the killing had been pre-planned.

The decision dramatically raised the bar on the defence's application for bail and handed the first round in what will be a marathon legal battle to prosecutor, Gerrie Nel.

Lead counsel for the defence, Barry Roux, responded by unveiling an affidavit that finally gave Mr Pistorius's account of what happened in the early hours of Valentine's Day when his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead.

The athlete had spent a quiet night with his girlfriend at his home in the luxury security estate on the outskirts of Pretoria, the court was told.

She had done some yoga exercises while he watched television before they both turned in for the night.

In the early hours of the morning, the runner awoke and went out onto the balcony without strapping on his prosthetic legs to recover a fan, according to the affidavit.

"I heard a noise in the bathroom and realised that someone was in the bathroom," said Mr Pistorius's sworn statement. "I felt a sense of terror rushing over me."

He then claims he went back inside, collected the 9mm handgun he keeps in case of intruders and went in to the bathroom without switching on the lights.

"As I did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable, I knew I had to protect Reeva and myself. I believed that when the intruder/s came out of the toilet we would be in grave danger."

His response was to shoot through the door of the cubicle and return to the bedroom to look for his girlfriend.

Only when he found the bed empty, he claimed, did it dawn on him that he may have shot Ms Steenkamp.

He forced entrance to the cubicle, found her still alive and carried her downstairs. "Reeva died in my arms," he statement said.

This account of a romantic night in gone horrifically wrong contrasted sharply with what the prosecutor, Mr Nel, had earlier called the "cold facts" of the case.

He said that it was clear that Ms Steenkamp had spent the evening with the accused, citing her overnight bag and vanity case found at the scene.

He then described the distance of 7m between the bed and the small cubicle toilet in which the 29-year-old model had died.

Four shots had been fired, three of them hitting Ms Steenkamp.

"There was no possible support for the claim that it was a burglar,"

Mr Nel said. "He armed himself, walked seven metres and shot a defenceless person inside a small space where there was no possible escape."

Dressed in a grey suit and flanked by his father, brother and sister, Amy, one of the most recognisable figures in sport sobbed his way through proceedings.

At one point the magistrate paused the hearing asking Mr Pistorius to "compose" himself, warning that he did not want him leaving the court without having understood what had taken place.

The unexpected arrival of the affidavit so early in proceedings prompted the defence to request a holdover until today.

Topics:  editors picks oscar pistorius reeva steenkamp



Why Choat believes One Nation will win Ipswich West

CONTENDER: One Nation candidate for Ipswich West Brad Trussell is tipped by former LNP MP Sean Choat to prevail in Ipswich West.

Former LNP MP says Miller is 'a formidable politician' in Bundamba

BOUNDARY CHANGES: Will your MP change?

Final candidates have been announced for Nanango and Callide.

Ipswich, Ipswich West, Bundamba, Lockyer and Jordan

Is seat of Bundamba the ALP's safest in Queensland?

ON TRACK: Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller MP at her Goodna office.

Miller looks on track for another big win after draft redistribution

Local Partners

Un-American tale makes Lion weakest link in Oscars line-up

PSYCHOLOGY researchers find US films and actors most likely to win accolades at the Oscars.

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

Chris Cheney of The Living End stars in the Australian production of Green Days musical American Idiot at Brisbane's QPAC Theatre.

TAKE a look behind the scenes of Green Day's American Idiot musical

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

Live performance of Sci-fi classic to open Science Festival

Qld Symphony Orchestra perform live to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Festival will host A Live Presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

Reginald VelJohnson, left, and Darius McCrary arrive at the TV Land Awards on Sunday, April 19, 2009 in Universal City, Calif.

Darius McCrary has been accused of child abuse

Bindi Irwin's birthday tribute to her dad

Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her dad on his 55th birthday

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

WARNING: 'Sardine city' is on Ipswich's horizon

CONCERNED: The implications of the State's move to denser housing developments has Cr David Pahlke up in arms.

But Antoniolli says council can manage State's denser housing edict

Grand re-launch for new Nolan's Corner

GRAND PARTY: Wayne Kemp and Angela Love from Poison Arrow, Eliza Woodruffe from Limestone Emporium, Tess Claris from Voice Hair and Beauty and Kim Schubel from Schudio will all be at the grand launch party.

A feat worth celebrating

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!