Oscar struggles against relentless Nel

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iol news pic apr14 Oscar Pistorius Trial~5

AP

Chief state prosecutor Gerrie Nel questions Oscar Pistorius in court. (AP Photo/Antoine de Ras, Pool)

Pretoria - “Mr Pistorius, what did you think would happen if you fired through the door?” asked state prosecutor, Gerrie Nel.

“I didn't have time to think,” responded Oscar Pistorius, in the kind of question and answer session that continued throughout the afternoon.

Pistorius would at first say he didn't understand, then Nel would put a new version to the athlete, followed by the athlete's swift denial. This happened throughout the day.

Eventually, Pistorius admitted that firing four shots into the door would “probably” have resulted in a fatality.

Pistorius was then asked why he hadn't fired a warning shot down the passage, or elsewhere, but the athlete once again couldn't answer.

Nel also was unable to find an answer of why Reeva Steenkamp hadn't turned on the bathroom light when she'd supposedly gotten up to use the toilet.

Pistorius said it was possible that Steenkamp had used her cellphone for light, but Nel said this meant an even larger hole in his story, as he would have seen a light moving down the passage.

The athlete said he was never sure when Steenkamp had gotten up.

And Nel said that with Pistorius' version, it was difficult to tell.

Pistorius said he fired his gun one handed, his arm stretched out at shoulder height.

He was again questioned about the intruder being able to attack him upon coming out of the toilet cubicle. Nel asked if Pistorius had noticed the door handle, which would have had to have been used to get out of the cubicle. Pistorius didn't see the handle move. The athlete also said that if he had wanted to fire at the intruder, the shots would have been higher than where they were on the door, at chest height.

“If there was in fact an intruder in the toilet and you shot and killed them, would that have been an accident?” asked Nel. Pistorius said it would have, and he blamed himself for the accident.

“I blame myself for taking Reeva's life,” said Pistorius.

Nel said Steenkamp would only have been in the position she was, with her hip facing the door, if she was speaking with Pistorius at the time of the shooting.

“Why would she stand there if she was scared?” asked Nel.

Nel put it to Pistorius that he and Steenkamp had a massive fight, leading to the shooting.

The athlete denied this. “I say it's not true, he's hiding,” Nel told Judge Thokozile Masipa when she confronted him on his repeated questioning of this point.

The record of Pistorius' earlier testimony was then brought forward.

It read that Pistorius had fired four shots, and his ears were ringing. He said he stood where he was and shouted for Steenkamp again, because he wasn't sure if the perceived intruder would still come out of the cubicle.

He slowly backed out of the bathroom, screaming for Steenkamp, because he was still frightened.

When he got to the bed, he was scared because Steenkamp wasn't there, and he searched for her on the floor, the bed and behind the curtains.

Pistorius told the court When he got back to the bathroom, he was still scared. When he got to the cubicle, he tried to open the door, trying to rip it open. He went back to the balcony door where he screamed for help. Pistorius was asked about the duvet, and where it had landed.

When he searched the bed for Steenkamp, Pistorius said he was unable to remember if the duvet was still on it, even though he had moved across the bed.

Nel asked why Pistorius hadn't checked the bedroom door if he still hadn't realised that Steenkamp was in the bathroom.

The lawyer said that it was a highly unusual that because he hadn't checked everywhere that he immediately assumed he'd shot and killed Steenkamp.

But Pistorius said that he'd already realised when he saw the bed that the thought he'd shot his girlfriend had crossed his mind.

Nel said this was already a huge leap from the perceived intruders he'd earlier said he assumed were in the toilet.

The lawyer also pointed out that Pistorius had never checked the window for a ladder. “I was worried it was Reeva,” said a tearful Pistorius.

But the state insisted that by this point, it didn't make sense that Pistorius was sure Steenkamp was inside the toilet cubicle.

Pistorius said he wasn't surprised that the door was locked as Steenkamp could have been scared and locked it when he had shouted for the intruders to leave the home.

Pistorius said when he was on the balcony, he felt helpless. Nel asked if the athlete was still holding his gun. Pistorius said he was, and the firearm was still cocked.

Pistorius said he couldn't remember if he had to use his left hand to part the curtains, unlock and open the sliding balcony doors while balancing on his stumps. Once again, Pistorius began to become emotional, which Nel suggested was “an escape” as more and more of his version was becoming less and less believable.

Nel then pointed out that Pistorius, upon making his realisation, should have turned on the light before running back to the bathroom. He was also asked why he'd taken his gun with him, and how this didn't make sense with the athlete's version.

“I wasn't in a rational frame of mind,” said Pistorius.

The case was adjourned to on Tuesday morning.

The Star


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