Oscar Pistorius has denied “picking on” his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, as his cross-examination continues at his murder trial in Pretoria.
The Paralympic champion was commenting on a mobile phone message Reeva Steenkamp had sent him.
The prosecution has been trying to portray Oscar Pistorius as self-obsessed and negligent with firearms.
Oscar Pistorius denies murdering Reeva Steenkamp, saying he accidentally shot her dead through a door, fearing there was an intruder in his house.
Prosecutors say Oscar Pistorius intentionally killed his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day last year by firing a gun through a bathroom door at her after a row at his Pretoria home.
Oscar Pistorius, 27, who is a double amputee, faces life imprisonment if convicted of murdering the 29-year-old model, reality TV celebrity and law graduate.
In Thursday’s proceedings:
- Oscar Pistorius said he had not meant to pull the trigger
- Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel accused the athlete of being selfish, negligent and lying
- Gerrie Nel said Oscar Pistorius’ apology in court was a “spectacle”
- Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, June, said she was “unmoved” by his apology
- Oscar Pistorius denied ever shouting at Reeva Steenkamp, or a previous girlfriend
Under intense cross-examination, Oscar Pistorius said he had not meant to pull the trigger, even to fire at an intruder.
“It was an accident… I didn’t have time to think,” he said, his voice trembling after he had been generally calm in contrast to previous days.
Earlier, chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel, known as the “bull terrier” in South Africa for his fierce questioning, suggested that Oscar Pistorius was only concerned about himself during the couple’s three-month relationship.
Gerrie Nel is trying to give an impression that the Paralympic athlete is self-centred, contemptuous of his girlfriend and lacking responsibility.
He suggested that Oscar Pistorius should have apologized to Reeva Steenkamp’s family in private, rather than making a “spectacle” by doing it in court as he opened his defense on Monday.
The athlete replied that he had not had the opportunity and had been unable to find the correct words.
When Gerrie Nel noted that in Monday’s apology, Oscar Pistorius did not say he was sorry for killing Reeva Steenkamp, the athlete replied: “I’m terribly sorry that I took the life of their daughter.”
In court, June Steenkamp shook her head as Oscar Pistorius was taken through several WhatsApp messages, which Reeva Steenkamp had sent.
In one, Reeva Steenkamp wrote: “You have picked on me incessantly since we got back from Cape Town.”
Asked to comment, Oscar Pistorius said: “I don’t feel like I picked on her incessantly – maybe we were having a rough time in our relationship.”
He also denied ever shouting or screaming at Reeva Steenkamp, or a previous girlfriend, Sam Taylor, as she had testified earlier in the trial.
Referring to an incident when a gun was fired in a restaurant, Oscar Pistorius said he had not been aware the gun was loaded but insisted he had not pulled the trigger.
Gerrie Nell said a gun firing itself would be a “miracle”. He also accused Oscar Pistorius of lying and not taking responsibility for his actions.
“You will blame anybody but yourself,” the prosecutor said, after Oscar Pistorius had questioned the decisions of his defense lawyers.
Oscar Pistorius did admit keeping ammunition in his bedside table, rather than in a safe.
He said he was usually armed “for my own safety”.
On Wednesday’s dramatic first day of questioning by Gerrie Nel, Oscar Pistorius became distraught as he was shown a photo of Reeva Steenkamp after her death.
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