Oscar: I did not fire at Reeva

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nel standing apr 14 Independent Newspapers Chief prosecutor in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, Gerrie Nel Picture: Antoine de Ras

Pretoria - Oscar Pistorius has broken down on the stand for a second time today, as the prosecution continues its attempts to slowly tear apart his version of the night he shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius claims he thought an intruder was in his home that night, and that in his fear of a perceived attacker, fired four times through a closed cubicle door.

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked about the noise Pistorius heard that made him believe someone was in the en suite bathroom.

Armed with his gun in the passageway between his bedroom and the bathroom, Pistorius said he wanted to chase these perceived intruders out of his house to protect Steenkamp.

Nel then asked if Pistorius if he wanted to do to them what he'd done "to the watermelon". Last week, the court was shown a video of the athlete firing on a watermelon with a high powered gun, exploding it.

The athlete said he did not want to do such a thing to the intruder.

Pistorius had already shouted in the passageway, and when Nel asked him what he said, Pistorius began weeping again. Through tears he relayed what he had said: "get the f*ck out of my house, get the f*ck out of my house."

He turned away from the court, tears in his eyes, and the court adjourned for him to compose himself.

When Pistorius returned, Nel accused the athlete of screaming for Steenkamp to get out of his house, not these perceived robbers. Nel said this was why he had started to cry at the mention of the shouting.

Pistorius said he became emotional because of the traumatising nature of the night of the shooting.

The athlete was then asked what he said to Steenkamp when he thought someone was in the house. Pistorius said he was unable to remember exactly what he'd shouted at the model, but said it closely resembled: "Reeva, call the police."

Nel said it didn't make sense that just seconds prior, Pistorius had been whispering to her, and the situation had not changed.

Pistorius said he hadn't screamed before because he was concerned for the couple's safety.

The athlete then told the court of how after entering the bathroom, he could see slightly better because of the ambient light from outside.

Pistorius said he peered inside to see if someone was inside to ambush him. Then he said he started shouting again. But Nel pointed out that the athlete had failed to mention the second noise - the sound of the cubicle door shutting - that had perturbed him so much.

Pistorius insisted he had mentioned that he had heard this noise in the passage. However, Nel was insistent Pistorius had not.

Pistorius said he'd heard the cubicle door slam after screaming at Steenkamp but before he'd entered the bathroom.

Nel asked if Pistorius was convinced the sound was indeed the door slamming, which the athlete confirmed.

Pistorius said he'd thought someone inside had kicked or bumped the door closed. When he arrived in the bathroom, Pistorius saw the bathroom window open and the toilet door closed.

Nel once again asked why such an important detail about the door slamming was not in his bail application.

Pistorius again said he was not sure. "It's even more devastating for your story that it's not in your plea explanation," Nel went on.

"I put it to you, it's because you never said it to your counsel."

The lawyer then referred to Pistorius' bail affidavit, where no mention of the door slamming was evident.

"There are many things that I told my counsel that are not in there," said Pistorius.

The athlete then moved on to his thoughts as he walked into the bathroom and saw the toilet door closed. He said he was scared anyone could come out and attack him. Pistorius said he then heard a noise inside the toilet, of "wood moving", or possibly the door opening.

"As I heard the noise, I fired," said Pistorius.

Nel asked if the athlete could see the door's handle or moving, but Pistorius said he only heard the noise.

Pistorius said just before firing he was holding the gun in his right hand, pointed at the door until he could assess the situation. When he heard the noise, he opened fire.

"So you wanted to shoot the person coming out?" asked Nel.

Pistorius said he didn't want to, but that he didn't have time to think.

"Is it your defence that you fired at the perceived attacker?" the lawyer asked.

"I fired at the door," said Pistorius, saying it was an accidental shooting "out of fear".

"I didn't fire to kill anyone," said the emotional athlete.

Nel said the athlete's argument for firing was no longer one of self-defence.

"You fired at Reeva," said Nel.

It's not true, my lady," said Pistorius before breaking into tears.

"I didn't fire at Reeva!" his voice raised slightly through his crying, leading to another short adjournment. Upon his return, Pistorius' lawyer, Barry Roux, said the athlete had mentioned the sound of the door slamming in his cross-examination this morning.

Roux also said Nel had been making repetitive questioning, often asking the same question over and over again, leading to Pistorius' emotional response.

Nel then returned to Pistorius' screaming for a second time on his way to the bathroom.

Pistorius said on this occasion he could only remember shouting: "get out".

Nel asked why Steenkamp had not responded to this, or why Pistorius couldn't remember if he shouted again for Steenkamp to call the police for a second time.

Pistorius admitted he never told the perceived intruder he was armed and intended to shoot.

Nel said Pistorius was in "combat-mode", and the athlete said he had been trained with firearms.

But Nel insisted that someone trained wouldn't have fired through a closed door.

Pistorius then revealed that the sound of "wood moving" could have been the sound of the magazine rack moving in the bathroom - and not the door opening.

This prompted Nel to say that Pistorius had only changed his aim on hearing Steenkamp hit the magazine rack after taking the first bullet, implying Pistorius shot before hearing the noise inside.

The athlete said he'd never aimed throughout the ordeal.

Nel said even the defence's pathologist had said the four bullets were in a close grouping, and that it was difficult to believe that he had not aimed.

Pistorius was also asked how the alleged attackers would escape from the small cubicle.

He said they could have climbed out of the window, or come out the door.

Nel got Pistorius to admit that he had absolutely no idea who was behind the door. A man, woman or child. Investigating officer, Captain Mike van Aardt was asked to enter the reconstructed toilet cubicle to lock the door from the inside.

Pistorius said he never heard that noise of the door locking, even though the door was later found to be locked.

Nel then recalled the testimony of Pistorius neighbours, the Stipps, who had heard a "woman" screaming between two sets of shots.

They had also seen the bathroom light was on that night.

He also said he couldn't remember when he put the lights on after the shooting.

Pistorius said that after shooting, he had screamed again for Steenkamp to call the police, and only after going to the bedroom and being unable to find her did his mind connect what had happened. Pistorius then said he called Steenkamp's name while trying to find her. Pistorius said the screaming the Stipp's heard was most likely his, as he was the only one to call out that night.

"Have you had your voice tested?" asked Nel.

"I have, my lady," Pistorius responded.

Nel asked why the recording of Pistorius' voice hadn't been played to these witnesses to let them determine if that's what they heard.

Pistorius said he did not know why. The athlete said he had not heard the recording himself, but that he'd been tested at his current residence.

Pistorius said all of his numerous screams on the night of the shooting were different because of his panic.

Nel returned to the way in which Pistorius fired through the door. Pistorius said he'd fired in very quick succession, but couldn't explain why he fired four times and not more.

"Why not empty the magazine? Why not fire at the (bathroom) window?" asked Nel, who said someone could have been on a ladder with a gun.

Pistorius also couldn't explain if he had considered that the bullets could have ricocheted at him because he fired in such a small space.

Pistorius said he fired at the door, because it was where he thought the perceived danger was emerging. When asked about whether his lack of aiming meant he was "just lucky" that he hit his target, Pistorius answered with a quiver in his voice:

"How would that be lucky, she lost her life".

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