Home World Africa news Oscar Pistorius trial: Paralympic champion heartbroken at seeing Reeva Steenkamp body

Oscar Pistorius trial: Paralympic champion heartbroken at seeing Reeva Steenkamp body


Oscar Pistorius has told his murder trial in Pretoria he was “heartbroken” when he saw the body of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

“I crouched down over her… and I checked to see if she was breathing or if she had a pulse,” the athlete said.

The prosecution has now finished five days of grueling cross-examination, which has seen the athlete break down on several occasions.

Oscar Pistorius, 27, denies murder, saying he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder.

The prosecution says Oscar Pistorius deliberately shot dead Reeva Steenkamp after the couple had had an argument and has suggested he is staging his emotional outbursts.

He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder.

Before his cross-examination ended, the court was shown a photograph of the toilet covered in blood where Reeva Steenkamp was shot in February 2013.

Oscar Pistorius said that after shooting through the toilet door at what he thought were intruders, he realized he may have mistakenly killed his girlfriend, a 29-year-old model and law graduate.

He said he tried to break down the door with his shoulder, before using a cricket bat, all the time screaming in panic.

Oscar Pistorius has told his murder trial in Pretoria he was "heartbroken" when he saw the body of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius has told his murder trial in Pretoria he was “heartbroken” when he saw the body of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

But the double-amputee sprinter said he stopped screaming when he finally opened the door and saw the body.

When asked why, Oscar Pistorius replied, his voice trembling with emotion: “I was heartbroken… overcome with sadness.”

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the athlete had deliberately killed his girlfriend following an argument.

“You fired four shots through the door whilst knowing that she was standing behind the door. She was locked into the bathroom and you armed yourself with the sole purpose of shooting and killing her,” he said.

Oscar Pistorius replied: “That is not true.”

The athlete has previously said he and Reeva Steenkamp had spent a quiet evening together before he woke up on hearing a noise in the bathroom.

After the cross-examination ended, Oscar Pistorius’ defense lawyer Barry Roux asked a few further questions before presenting to the court the Valentine’s Day card which Reeva Steenkamp had written for the athlete.

On the card, she had written: “Roses are red, violets are blue, I think this is a good time to say, I love you.”

Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013.

Oscar Pistorius has now ended his testimony.

Prosecution witnesses have testified to hearing a woman scream, but the defense disputes their testimony.

Judge Thokozile Masipa temporarily halted proceedings on two occasions on Monday after Oscar Pistorius broke down sobbing.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said: “You’re getting emotional now because you’re getting frustrated because your version [of events] is improbable.”

Both prosecution and defense have asked Judge Thokozile Masipa to postpone the case until May 5, following Tuesday’s cross-examination.

Gerrie Nel said members of his team were engaged in “more pressing” cases, which needed their attention, as well as “personal arrangements”.

The defense said the case should still finish on May 16, as planned. The judge said she would deliver her judgement on this request on Wednesday.

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