Oscar Pistorius: I didn’t hear Reeva scream

BBC on 11 April 2014 Last updated at 11:56 GMT

Oscar Pistorius: “At no point did Reeva shout out or scream”

Oscar Pistorius has told his murder trial that girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp did not scream or shout as he grabbed a gun and fired shots that killed her.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said it was “improbable” that she would stand in the bathroom saying nothing while Mr Pistorius was just 3m (10ft) away shouting at her to call the police.

Mr Pistorius said he could not explain but reiterated that no woman screamed.

Mr Pistorius, 27, denies murder saying the killing was a terrible accident.

He admits killing Ms Steenkamp but says he fired his gun after mistaking her for an intruder.

He believed she had been in bed when he grabbed his gun, made his way to the bathroom and fired shots through the door.

The prosecution says he killed her after an argument.

On the third day of his cross-examination, Mr Nel pressed the Olympic sprinter to explain the final moments leading up to the shooting.

He asked why he had not checked whether Ms Steenkamp had heard his calls for her to phone the police, or why he had not taken her to safety instead of going to confront the supposed intruder.

Mr Pistorius said it was his personality to confront what he believed was an intruder.

The trial has been adjourned until Monday morning.

‘She was scared of you’
Later, Mr Nel questioned Mr Pistorius’s account that he had not heard Ms Steenkamp shout or scream during the whole incident.

He said it was the “most improbable” part of the account.

“At that stage when you shouted at Reeva to phone the police, she was 3m away from you in the toilet, but she didn’t say anything,” he said.

“Why would she not say anything?”

Mr Pistorius said he did not know.

The prosecutor accused him of lying, and said he had shot Ms Steenkamp while she was talking to him from the bathroom.

“She wasn’t scared of an intruder,” he said. “She was scared of you.”

He went on: “Are you sure that Reeva did not scream after the first shot?”

Mr Pistorius took a long time to answer, and broke down into sobs.

“At no point did Reeva shout out or scream,” he said.

Mr Nel then disputed his claim, saying he would not have been able to hear if he had just fired his gun.

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

‘Fixated’ on intruder
Mr Nel repeated a line of attack he had used on Thursday, testing the defendant’s version of events, and accusing him of lying.

Mr Pistorius told the court he had heard a window opening and closing, and had immediately got out of bed and grabbed his gun.

“I told Reeva to get down and phone the police,” he said.

Mr Nel asked if he had not looked at Ms Steenkamp, or asked if she had heard the noise.

“On the morning of the 14th I was sure of what I heard,” he said.

“My whole being was fixated on this person that I thought was in the bathroom.”

Oscar Pistorius trial day 19 – in 60 seconds

The double amputee faces life imprisonment if convicted of murdering the 29-year-old model.

If he is acquitted of murder, the court must consider an alternative charge of culpable homicide, for which he could receive up to 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.

1. Balcony

Mr Pistorius said in his statement at the start of the trial that he woke in the early hours and walked on his stumps to the balcony, pulled in two fans, closed the sliding door and drew curtains. He said that shortly before he had spoken to Reeva, who was in bed beside him.

He said he rejected prosecution claims that a witness heard arguing coming from the house before the shooting.

2. Bathroom window

Mr Pistorius said he heard the bathroom window sliding open and believed that an intruder, or intruders, had entered the bathroom through a window which was not fitted with burglar bars.

“Unbeknown to me, Reeva must have gone to the toilet in the bathroom at the time I brought in the fans,” he said.

Mr Pistorius said he approached the bathroom armed with his firearm, to defend himself and his girlfriend, believing Ms Steenkamp was still in bed.

3. Shooting

Both sides agree four bullets were fired. Ms Steenkamp was hit three times.

Mr Pistorius said he fired his weapon after hearing a noise in the toilet which he thought was the intruder coming out of the toilet to attack him and Ms Steenkamp.

He said he was in a fearful state, knowing he was on his stumps and unable to run away or properly defend himself.

Mr Pistorius said he rejected claims that he was on his prostheses when he shot at the door.

A witness told the trial she woke to hear a woman screaming and a man shouting for help. She said that after the screams she heard four shots.

4. Bedroom

Mr Pistorius said he went back to the bedroom after shooting at the toilet door, still shouting for Reeva. Lifting himself up onto the bed, he felt over to the right hand side of it and noticed Ms Steenkamp was not there.

Mr Pistorius said this was when he realised she could have been in the toilet.

5. Toilet door

Mr Pistorius said he went back to the bathroom but the toilet was locked, so he returned to the bedroom, pulled on his prosthetic legs, turned on the lights before bashing in the toilet door with a cricket bat.

Forensics expert Johannes Vermeulen told the court that the height of the marks on the door caused by the cricket bat suggest Mr Pistorius was on his stumps at the time.

6. Emergency calls

Mr Pistorius’s defence team say he then called security at the gated housing complex and a private paramedic service before carrying Ms Steenkamp downstairs.

A security guard claimed it was the other way round, and he had called Mr Pistorius first after reports of gunfire. However, phone records shown to the court revealed Mr Pistorius called the estate manager at 3:19am, a minute later he called the ambulance service and at 3:21am he called estate security.

A minute later he received an incoming call – estate security calling him back.

According to police phone expert Francois Moller, Mr Pistorius called his friend Justin Divaris a short time later and just after 4:00am he called his brother Carl.

About thememorables

I am a Nigerian. I had my professional career as a computer programmer, systems analyst and data processing manager before retiring into private business. I am also a politician.
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