Oscar Pistorius trial: Prosecution accuses athlete of shedding tears to avoid questions in court

 

Oscar Pistorius was accused of shedding tears of self-pity to avoid answering questions as chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel challenged his version of events leading up to Reeva Steenkamp's death, his murder trial heard.

Continuing his cross-examination, Mr Nel told the court Pistorius opened fire knowing Ms Steenkamp was inside the lavatory after the couple got into an "argument" in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

He told Pretoria's High Court: "You knew exactly what you were doing, you fired at Reeva. You fired at her", to which a sobbing Pistorius immediately replied: "That is not true, my lady".

Mr Nel, known as the 'pit bull' for his aggressive tactics in court, ignored his tears and continued: "Why are you becoming emotional?" as the athlete cried "I did not fire at Reeva".

Pistorius's loud sobbing and wailing prompted judge Masipa to temporarily adjourn court so he could "compose himself" before continuing giving evidence after three dramatic days of cross-examination.

But the prosecutor, who has accused the athlete of lying and tailoring his evidence to "cover lies", suggested he is emotional, not out of grief, but simply because he is getting his evidence "mixed up" and wants to avoid difficult questions.

"I'm going to argue that you got emotional because you got your defences mixed up," he added. "Getting your defences mixed up - that's why you get emotional."

 

Answering questions about the moment he opened fire at the door, Pistorius told the court he fired four times in quick succession, rather than two quick double-tap bursts, as previously stated.

Mr Nel challenged him further: "Why did you only fire four rounds? Why not empty the magazine? Why not fire at the window?"

Pistorius previously told the court the noise of a "window sliding open" and a door slamming convinced him an intruder had entered his gated community mansion in Pretoria, adding: "The firearm was pointed where I perceived the danger to be".

Asked if the gun was pointing at Ms Steenkamp by "luck", Pistorius broke down again: "How could that be lucky? She lost her life."

"Mr Pistorius, you are trying to get emotional again. It's not worth your while," Mr Nel said, suggesting that the court adjourn for lunch.

Pistorius's version of events has come under intense scrutiny from the state prosecutor, who accused the athlete of lying and tailoring his testimony to fit his own version of events.

Oscar Pistorius is greeted by the Oscar Pistorius is greeted by the "Support for Oscar" Facebook group members as he arrives at the Pretoria High Court As he began his fourth day of cross-examination, Mr Nel told the court: "Today I'm going to prove your version of events is untrue. That you tailored your version, concocted your story. Your version is so improbable that it cannot reasonably possibly be true."

The state argues the 29-year old model and law graduate "ran screaming" to the bathroom after the couple had an "argument" before the athlete shot her three times in the arm, hip and head.

Pistorius denies murdering Ms Steenkamp, claiming he shot and killed her in a case of mistaken identity thinking she was an intruder and he felt vulnerable because he was on his stumps and wanted to "protect Reeva".

There are no juries at trials in South Africa and Pistorius's fate will ultimately be decided by Judge Masipa, assisted by two assessors.

The case continues.

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