Pistorius Due Back In Court After Weeping Over Killing

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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South African athlete Oscar Pistorius is due back in court after the judge adjourned his murder trial when he broke down in tears during testimony.

Mr Pistorius sobbed on Tuesday as he recounted finding the body of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on the toilet floor of his home.

He said he had shot her through the door after mistaking her for a burglar in the late-night incident last year.

Prosecutors in Pretoria contend he intentionally killed her after a row.

The 27-year-old Olympic and Paralympic sprinter, who is a double amputee, faces life imprisonment if convicted of murder.

Oscar Pistorius recounted the shooting on Tuesday If acquitted, South African law stipulates that the court must consider the separate, lesser charge of culpable homicide, or manslaughter, for which he could receive between six and 15 years in prison.

Mr Pistorius also faces charges of illegally firing a gun in public and of illegally possessing ammunition, both of which he denies.

There are no juries at trials in South Africa, and his fate will ultimately be decided by the judge, assisted by two assessors.

Four shots On Tuesday, Mr Pistorius gave his version of the lead-up to the shooting and the actual event.

In the early hours of Valentine's Day 2013, he said, he had got up from bed to bring in some fans he had left outside, in order to cool his bedroom.

When he heard a window opening in the bathroom, he said, he thought there was a burglar trying to get in.

Wanting to protect Ms Steenkamp, who was not sleeping, he had gone to get his gun in the dark.

"I whispered to Reeva to get down and phone the police," he said.

He said he then went into the passage without his prosthetic legs and, overcome with fear, started screaming, and shouted for Ms Steenkamp to get to the floor.

"I heard a noise from inside the toilet, what I perceived to be someone coming out of the toilet," he said tearfully.

"Before I knew it, I had fired four shots at the door," he told the court.

After the shooting, Mr Pistorius said he had smashed in a door panel to get into the toilet, where he discovered what he had done.

"Whilst I leant over the partition to get in, I saw the key, so I took it and I unlocked the door, and I flung the door open, and I threw it open," he said, sobbing.

"And I sat over Reeva and I cried.
and um, I don't know how long.
I don't know how long I was there for.
She wasn't breathing.
" As the athlete broke down, the judge adjourned the trial.

Stumps Mr Pistorius's lawyer asked him to demonstrate his height without his prosthetic legs.

Gasps were heard in the overflow courtroom as he slowly walked on his stumps over to the mock-up of the toilet door, the BBC's Pumza Fihlani reports.

His confident demeanour changed - on his stumps he seemed self-conscious, our reporter says.

The images were not visible to the outside world as his testimony is not being televised.

Earlier, the athlete described how the couple had spent a quiet evening together on 13 February, Ms Steenkamp doing some yoga as he spoke to his cousin on the phone.

He had then watched TV in bed with his head resting on her stomach and she would occasionally show him photos of cars she was looking at on her phone, he said.

He said that they had bought Valentine's Day gifts for each other.

Ms Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, reality TV celebrity and law graduate, was hit by at least three bullets while in the toilet cubicle of Mr Pistorius's home in Pretoria.