South African "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius (R) smiles with his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg November 4, 2012. Pistorius a double amputee who became one of the biggest names in world athletics, was charged on February 14, 2013 with shooting dead Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria. Picture taken November 4, 2012. REUTERS/Frennie Shivambu/JustusMedia (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: CRIME LAW SPORT ATHLETICS) NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Durban - A young friend of murder accused Oscar Pistorius, called to his house the night the Paralympian shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has told how she opened the door to see him carrying Steenkamp down the stairs, her body drenched in blood.

The young woman, who cannot be named, lives with her parents in the same complex, Silver Woods in Pretoria. She got the call after 3am on Thursday, she told police this week in a sworn statement.

Pistorius asked her to come to his home immediately. He was frantic. Something had gone horribly wrong. There had been a shooting.

She rushed over, opening the door of his home at exactly 3.20am on Valentine’s morning – and saw Pistorius carry Steenkamp down the stairs, her body drenched in blood.

Pistorius placed Steenkamp’s body on the floor, and between them, Pistorius’s young friend said, they tried to stop the profuse bleeding.

But they couldn’t.

The young woman, a lawyer, told police she and Pistorius did everything they could to save Steenkamp’s life.

But 29-year-old Steenkamp’s slender body was limp, the life draining out of her.

When the paramedics arrived a short while later, she said she and Pistorius stepped aside. Steenkamp was pronounced dead a short while later.

The young woman had asked her father to call an ambulance, but it remains unclear whether they were also called by neighbours, who alerted the complex’s security guards and police to the gunshots they heard just after 3am.

The friend said she tried to console Pistorius. It was all a mistake, he continued to tell her. He hadn’t meant to do it. He thought Steenkamp was an intruder. That’s why he shot her.

Pistorius’s life was about to change forever. And his house, until then the plush home of the well-loved and world-famous double-amputee athlete, was turned into a crime scene.

The young woman joins a line-up of witnesses, with Pistorius’s neighbours, members of the security company that operates at Silver Woods gated housing estate, and the paramedics.

The neighbours have already told the police about the shouting and screaming they heard from the Pistorius home on Wednesday, and in the early hours of Thursday.

At least one set of neighbours has told the police about other days and nights when they heard commotion coming from the athlete’s home.

Security guards were called to the house on Wednesday evening to tell the occupant that the noise was disturbing neighbours.

In addition, the security company that controls Silver Woods has given the police the CCTV footage that captured Steenkamp’s time of arrival at 6pm on Wednesday.

The state has charged Pistorius with premeditated murder, a charge that he denied, in the strongest possible terms, in a statement he made via his family rather than his legal team, shortly after the court adjourned on Friday afternoon.

He has, according to sources, told police he was awoken during the night by a noise that seemed to come from the bathroom. He reached for the 9mm pistol at his bedside, and a short while later fired the fatal shots through the bathroom door.

Meanwhile, Pistorius’s uncle, Arnold Pistorius, was quoted as saying yesterday that the Paralympian was “numb with shock, as well as grief”.

He repeated that the family “strongly refutes” that Pistorius planned to kill Steenkamp.

Of the state allegation of premeditated murder, Arnold Pistorius said: “The state’s own case, including its own forensic evidence, strongly refutes any possibility of a premeditated murder.”

He said his nephew and Steenkamp had become close since they began dating last November.

- Sunday Tribune