Pretoria - For the first time on Tuesday, Paralympian Oscar Pistorius put his version of what happened at his Silver Woods Country Estate home on the night of February 13 and the early hours of Valentine’s Day.
This is his statement as read out by defence advocate Barry Roux at the bail hearing in Pretoria.
“I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premeditated murder, as I had no intention to kill my girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp…
On February 13, 2013, Reeva would have gone out with her friends and I with my friends. Reeva then called me and asked that we cancel and asked that we rather spend the evening at home.
I agreed and we were content to have a quiet dinner together at home. By around 10pm on February 13, we were in our bedroom. She was doing her yoga exercises and I was in bed watching television.
My prosthetics were off.
We were deeply in love and I could not be happier. I know she felt the same way. She had given me a Valentine’s Day present but asked me only to open it the next day.
After Reeva finished her yoga exercises, she got into bed and we both fell asleep.
I am acutely aware of violent crimes being committed by intruders entering homes with a view to commit crime, including violent crime. I have received death threats before. I have also been a victim of violence and burglaries before. For that reason I kept my 9mm Parabellum underneath the bed when I went to bed at night.
During the early morning hours of February 14, I woke up, went to the balcony to bring a fan in and also closed the sliding door, the blinds and curtains. I heard a noise in the bathroom and realised that someone was in the bathroom.
I felt a sense of terror rushing over me. There are no burglar bars across the bathroom window and I knew that contractors who worked at my house had left the ladder outside. Although I did not have my prosthetics legs on, I have mobility on my stumps.
I believed that someone had entered my house. I was too scared to switch the light on. I grabbed my 9mm pistol under the bed. On my way to the bathroom I screamed words to the effect for him/them to get out of my house and for Reeva to phone the police.
It was pitch-dark in the bedroom and I thought she was in bed. I noticed that the bathroom window was open. I realised that the intruder/s was/were in the toilet because the toilet door was closed and I could not see anyone in the bathroom.
I heard movement inside the toilet. The toilet is inside the bathroom and has a separate door.
It filled me with horror and fear of an intruder or intruders being inside the house. I thought he or they must have entered through the unprotected window.
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.
I felt trapped as my bedroom door was locked and I have limited mobility on my stumps.
I fired shots at the toilet door and shouted to Reeva to phone the police. She did not respond and I moved backwards out of the bathroom, keeping my eyes on the bathroom entrance. Everything was pitch-dark in the bedroom and I was still too scared to switch on the light. Reeva was not responding. When I reached the bed, I realised that Reeva was not in bed.
That is when it dawned on me that it could have been Reeva in the toilet. I returned to the bathroom, calling her name. I tried to open the toilet door but it was locked. I rushed back into the bedroom and opened the sliding door onto the balcony and screamed for help.
I put on my prosthetic legs, ran back to the bathroom and tried to kick the toilet door open. I think I must have turned on the lights.
I went back into the bedroom and grabbed my cricket bat to bash open the toilet door. A panel or panels broke off and I found the key on the floor and unlocked the door.
Reeva was slumped over but alive. I battled to get her out of the toilet and pulled her into the bathroom. I phoned Johan Stander, who was involved with the administration of the estate, and asked him to phone the ambulance.
I called Netcare and asked for help. I went downstairs to open the front door. I returned to the bathroom and picked Reeva up as I had been told not to wait for paramedics but to take her to hospital.
I carried her downstairs in order to take her to the hospital. On my way down, Stander arrived. A doctor who lives in the complex also arrived.
I tried to render what assistance to Reeva that I could, but she died in my arms.
I’m absolutely mortified by the events and the devastating loss of my beloved Reeva. With the benefit of hindsight, I believe that Reeva went to the toilet when I went to the balcony to bring the fan in.
I cannot bear to think of the suffering I have caused her and her family, knowing how much she was loved. I also know that the events of that tragic night were as I have described them, and in due course, I have no doubt police and expert investigators will bear this out.”
* The bail hearing continues on Wednesday. If Pistorius is denied bail, he will be moved from the Brooklyn police station to a prison facility.