Oscar Pistorius trial: Paralympian has 'anxiety disorder'
Defence team claims 'vulnerability' contributed to him shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
Oscar Pistorius's defence continued to paint a picture of a vulnerable man crippled by fear after an expert witness claimed the athlete suffers from an "anxiety disorder", his murder trial heard.
Dr Merryll Vorster told the court his double leg amputation as a baby and his complicated relationship with his parents turned him into a "distrusting and guarded" person who often kept his feelings to himself and felt "alone and isolated" despite his fame and status as South Africa's national hero.
"He was never able to allow himself to be seen as disabled. Always encouraged to be seen as normal," she added. "Over time, this could result in increasing levels of anxiety as the stress of appearing normal continued."
Offering a rare glimpse into the athlete's mindset, Dr Vorster told Pretoria's High Court Pistorius viewed his father, Henke Pistorius, as an "irresponsible and mostly absent parent" and was raised by a "very anxious" mother who slept with a gun under her pillow and "abused alcohol intermittently".
She told the court Pistorius was "reared to view the world as threatening" from an early age and this contributed to his fear of crime, which made him "perceive his surroundings as being threatening when perhaps they're not".
Dr Vorster said Pistorius's anxiety combined with his physical disability may have caused him to act differently from an able-bodied person without generalised anxiety disorder.
Pistorius' defence team claims his feelings of "vulnerability" and fear of crime contributed to him shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by mistake last year fearing she was an intruder hiding in a toilet cubicle at his Pretoria home in the Silver Woods gated estate.
The state argues the athlete shot and killed his girlfriend deliberately, knowing full well she was behind the toilet door, following a domestic dispute in the early hours of Valentine's Day 2013.
South Africa does not have trial by jury, meaning Judge Thokozile Masipa will decide Pistorius' fate with the help of two assessors.
The murder trial continues.
- 1 Australia to impose 24-hour curfew on all cats to protect endangered species
- 2 Model's video shoot on the beach interrupted by sudden landing of a group of illegal migrants
- 3 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 4 MH370: Boeing 777 wing that could match missing plane found on the French island of Reunion
Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
Israel accused of killing 75 children during day of 'carnage' and war crimes in Gaza war
Australia to impose 24-hour curfew on all cats to protect endangered species
Walter Palmer: Cecil the lion killer revealed to be American dentist
MH370: Boeing 777 wing that could match missing plane found on the French island of Reunion
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Labour leadership contest: I would never quit the party, says Liz Kendall
£10500 - £14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Part Time Accounts Assistant ...
£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company supply, install an...
£120 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: An excellent three form entry scho...
£65000 Per Annum bonus & benefits package: The Green Recruitment Company: The ...