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Prosecutor says screaming Steenkamp ran away from Pistorius


PRETORIA – The prosecutor in Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial on Thursday accused the athlete of lying and said he had argued with Reeva Steenkamp before killing her.

The South African double-amputee Olympic sprinter under cross examination said he took his girlfriend for a burglar who had entered the bathroom when he shot her through the door in February last year.

Taking the stand for the fourth day, Pistorius said he woke up at night, went to move fans that had been left running and to draw curtains closed and did not see Steenkamp get out of bed and go to the bathroom.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel challenged his version of the events, saying it was not supported by the position of the fans, curtains and bed linen as they were photographed by police after the killing.

Pistorius had accused police of moving objects for an unknown reason.

“Mr Pistorius, your version is a lie. You never closed those curtains in the first instance,” Nel said, smirking at him and twirling his spectacles.

In reality, the couple got into a quarrel and Steenkamp ran away from Pistorius screaming, Nel told the court.

The prosecutor depicted the athlete as a self-centred, jealous and sometimes mean man who was reckless with guns.

Pistorius’ text messages to Steenkamp show their relationship was focused on him and his needs, Nel said.

The two never said “I love you” to each other, the prosecutor said.

Pistorius replied: “That is true. I never got the opportunity to tell her I loved her.”

He said their relationship was growing more solid and denied the claim in one of Steenkamp’s messages that he “picked on her incessantly.”

The athlete admitted to having felt “hurt” by Steenkamp talking to another man at a party, following which he forced her to leave.

Messages also revealed the athlete criticised the model for chewing gum, brushed her away when she tickled his neck, and played a crude song to her in a car.

Nel said those were humiliating experiences for Steenkamp, while Pistorius admitted to them having made her “unhappy.”

Steenkamp wrote that she was sometimes “scared” of Pistorius and the way he “snapped” at her.

He denied screaming at her and also refuted allegations by his former girlfriend Samantha Taylor that he had shouted at her.

Nel also questioned Pistorius about a firearm he discharged into the floor of a restaurant.

Pistorius said he did not pull the trigger, though he admitted to not checking if there was a magazine in the gun.

“You are lying. You fired that gun,” Nel countered, taking the incident to be an example of the athlete not accepting responsibility for his acts.

Nel accused Pistorius of breaking gun laws by keeping his father’s ammunition in his safe and an extra magazine in his bedside table, and said he acted irresponsibly when bringing a loaded gun on a boat trip.
Pistorius denied testimonies by Taylor and another friend that he once fired through the sun roof of a car.
The 27-year-old athlete is charged with the murder of Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate.

The trial has lasted 20 days and is expected to continue into May.
Pistorius, whose legs were amputated at the knee at the age of 11 months because of a congenital abnormality, became the first amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in the 2012 London Olympics.

If he is found guilty of premeditated murder, he could face a life sentence, meaning he would spend at least 25 years in prison. (dpa/NAN)

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