The Oscar Pistorius murder trial Day 20

TimesLIVE, Tymon Smith, Graeme Hosken, AFP and Sapa | 10 April, 2014
Photograph by: POOL

All the news from the Oscar Pistorius murder trial Day 20 in one place.

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Nel pokes holes in Pistorius' story - Tymon Smith

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel began to poke holes in Oscar Pistorius's version of the events that lead to him shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

Nel put it to the Paralympian that if - as Pistorius claims - a police photo of his bedroom taken in the early hours of that morning shows several things not in the position that he remembers them to have been in, then the police are guilty of a conspiracy against him. 

Pistorius told the court that the duvet from his bed was never on the floor as shown in the photo; that the curtains were never opened as wide as they are shown; and that the fan in the photo could not have been in the position shown, as this would have obstructed him from going onto the balcony and shouting for help, as he claimed he did during his examination in chief.

Nel argued that this was not due to police tampering but rather claimed: "Mr Pistorius your version is so improbable that nobody would ever think it is reasonably possible."

Nel said that the state would argue that Pistorius and Steenkamp had an argument in the early hours of the morning, following which she ran screaming to the toilet and locked herself inside before the Blade Runner shot her.

Pistorius maintained that his version was the truth and that objects had been moved on the scene by police. 

Nel's cross-examination of Pistorius continues tomorrow morning.

'YOUR VERSION IS A LIE,' NEL TELLS OSCAR - Sapa

Oscar Pistorius lied about bringing a fan into his bedroom shortly before killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

"The fan couldn't possibly have been there because it's in the way of the doors opening," Pistorius told the court during cross-examination by prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

He was looking at a photograph of his bedroom taken by a police officer on the morning of February 14 last year, hours after he killed Steenkamp in his Silver Woods Estate townhouse.

He fired through the door of his toilet, apparently believing an intruder was about to come out and attack him.

He has been charged with deliberately murdering her.

Nel asked Pistorius to examine the photo, which shows a fan on a tripod in front of the open sliding doors leading onto his bedroom balcony.

Nel asked him what was wrong with the photo, taken at 5.58am.

After pausing and looking at it for several seconds, Pistorius said the fan in the door would have blocked him from running out onto the balcony to shout for help after he shot Steenkamp.

"Indeed, indeed," Nel agreed.

"I agree. Because your version is a lie."

Pistorius had claimed he got out of bed to bring two fans in from the balcony, and closed the sliding doors and the curtains.

At some point during this process Steenkamp got out of bed and went to the toilet without him noticing, he claimed. He said police officers tampered with the scene.

"That door was open when you and the deceased got into an argument," Nel told him.

Pistorius is also charged with illegal possession of ammunition and two counts of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to all four charges.

OSCAR: NEL BROACHES ARGUMENT THEORY - Sapa

Circumstantial evidence points to an argument between murder-accused Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp before she shot her dead, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

"The only reasonable inference from circumstantial evidence is that there was an argument," said prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

After an objection from Pistorius's counsel Barry Roux, Nel said this evidence included testimony from witnesses who said they heard a woman screaming in the early hours of February 14 last year, when Steenkamp was shot dead in Pistorius's toilet.

Pistorius had been alleging that the scene at his house had been altered and that a fan was moved.

Nel suddenly said: "It was moved when you and the deceased got in an argument," prompting Roux's objection.

Nel said his case would say "when you got up you had an argument. That's why she ran away screaming".

Nel said this was the only "reasonable inference".

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder he faces. He said he thought there was an intruder about to enter his home when he suddenly fired four shots at the toilet door, killing Steenkamp inside the toilet with three of the shots.

He has also denied guilt on a charge of illegal possession of ammunition and two counts of discharging a firearm in public.

Pistorius admits 'no reason' to fire fatal shots - AFP

Under pummelling cross-examination, Oscar Pistorius admitted Thursday that he had "no reason" to fire the shots that killed Reeva Steenkamp, as prosecutors began to zero in on apparent inconsistencies in key parts of his account.

During the second day of gruelling questioning, prosecutor Gerrie Nel began to pick at Pistorius's explanation of why he fired four times through his toilet door on Valentine's Day 2013.

Pistorius has been charged with murdering his 29-year-old model girlfriend and faces a life sentence if convicted.

The Olympian has said he fired the shots accidentally and did not mean to kill anyone. He testified that he feared someone was coming through the toilet door and that his life was in danger.

This seemingly contradictory account was probed at length by Nel, who drew a concession from Pistorius that the shots should not have been fired at all.

"We know for a fact there were no intruders in your house that night, we know for a fact there was no ladder against the wall," Nel said.

"We know for a fact that you had no reason to shoot, objectively speaking."

Pistorius responded: "That's correct my lady."

Regardless of who Pistorius believed was behind the door, he could face a stiff sentence if Judge Thokozile Masipa believes he purposely used lethal force without reasonable cause.

Pistorius's cross-examination is a key point in his trial, and a stern test of both his version of events and of his resolve.

During the five-week trial the world-famous athlete has appeared fragile, frequently crying in court and becoming physically sick when the gruesome details of Steenkamp's injuries were discussed.

Nel spent most the first part of his cross-examination accusing Pistorius of being a selfish, controlling boyfriend and caring more about himself than the death of his girlfriend.

Nel tore into the 27-year-old's account of his relationship with Steenkamp.

"It's all about 'I'. It's all about Mr Pistorius," Nel said, reading cell phone messages in which Steenkamp said she was upset and "scared" of Pistorius's behaviour.

"She's scared of the feelings that she has for me and the way that I brushed her off," the athlete explained the message his girlfriend sent over social messenger WhatsApp.

Nel also accused Pistorius of making a public apology to Steenkamp's parents just to make himself feel better.

"Did you feel better after the apology?" Nel asked facetiously.

Steenkamp's mother June has said she wanted the Paralympian to see what he did to her daughter.

"He must see me there in the court, he must feel my eyes boring into him, I think it makes a lot of difference," she told Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper.

"I look at Oscar the whole time, to see how he is coping, how he is behaving. I'm obsessed with looking at him, it's just instinctive, I can't explain it."

After sitting in court stoically, Steenkamp said she breaks down at the end of the day.

"I keep it all in and when I get back to the hotel it all comes out and I break down."

Nel also used questions about three gun charges to try and show that Pistorius was irresponsible.

Pistorius has denied firing a gun in public on two separate occasions, and the possession of unlicensed ammunition.

"I didn't pull the trigger. I didn't have time to think," he said about firing a gun in a Johannesburg restaurant in 2012.

"'I'm a gun enthusiast, I didn't have time to think,'" Nel mimicked him sarcastically.

He also said his legal team had told him it was legal to keep his father's ammunition in his home safe.

"It's now the third occasion that you blame your legal team when you don't want to take responsibility!" said an exasperated Nel.

Pistorius earlier blamed his lawyers for discrepancies between his accounts given in written statements and his later verbal testimony.

Defence lawyer Barry Roux is expected to call up to 17 more witnesses in the remainder of the case, to testify on ballistics, whether Steenkamp urinated, damage to the toilet door, sound, as well as Pistorius's fear of crime and "vulnerability" on his stumps.

Originally scheduled to run for three weeks, the case has been extended until mid-May but could go on even longer.

OSCAR 'DID NOT SEE STEENKAMP' - Sapa

Murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius insisted on Thursday he did not see his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp get out of bed moments before he shot her dead.

"I don't know how she got up out of bed," Pistorius told the High Court in Pretoria.

Later he said: "I don't know when she got out of bed, My Lady."

He said his back was facing the room, which was "pitch black" after he had brought a fan in and closed his specially made black-out curtains.

He had spoken to her moments earlier with his head in his hands, but had not looked at her when he woke up in the early hours of Valentine's Day.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel had wanted to know how Pistorius managed to spot a pair of Steenkamp's jeans lying on the floor in that darkness but did not see her.

Pistorius explained that the light was from the LED light emitted by the amplifier in his room.

According to his earlier testimony, he was about to cover the amplifier light with the jeans after neither he nor Steenkamp could sleep.

When he was about to cover the amplifier, he heard a noise and, on his version, he had grabbed his gun, and fired four shots through the toilet door thinking there was an intruder.

He said he did not mean to shoot at anyone.

He then discovered that he had killed Steenkamp with three of the bullets.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilt to the charge of murdering her.

He has also denied guilt on a charge of illegal possession of ammunition and two counts of discharging a firearm in public.

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius ok so we're having a back and forth about the duvet. OP says he remembers duvet was on bed.

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius in photo of OP's bedroom, duvet on the floor, which is how police found it, OP says at time it was not.

REEVA DID NOT EAT AFTER DINNER: OSCAR - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius does not think that his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp ate again after supper on the last night of her life, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

"Is it possible that she got up later and went to eat something without you knowing?" prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked Pistorius during cross-examination.

"I don't think so," he replied.

He is accused of killing Steenkamp in his Silver Woods Estate townhouse on February 14 last year. He fired through the door of his toilet, apparently believing an intruder was about to come out and attack him.

Testifying for the State at the beginning of the trial, pathologist Gert Saayman testified that Steenkamp could have eaten her last meal about two hours before she was shot dead around 3am.

Pistorius told the court the couple ate a dinner of stir-fried chicken strips and vegetables around 7pm on February 13.

"Neither you nor she had anything else to eat that night?" asked Nel.

"That's correct, My Lady," Pistorius replied, addressing Judge Thokozile Masipa.

"That's roughly seven hours before she was killed," Nel said.

Pistorius corrected him and said it was eight hours.

"That's fine," replied Nel.

Pistorius is also charged with illegal possession of ammunition and two counts of discharging a firearm in public.

He has pleaded not guilty to all four charges.

Nel paints Pistorious as a narcissistic, negligent gun lover - Tymon Smith

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel worked hard to paint a picture of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius as a narcissistic, negligent gun owner who refused to take responsibility for his actions.

It is the twentieth day of Pistorius's trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

Nel began by reading WhatsApp messages between Pistorius and Steenkamp to demonstrate that Pistorius's attitude in arguments with his girlfriend was defensive, self-justifying and focused on his own needs rather than hers.

"Everything is about Oscar, Oscar, Oscar," Nel told Pistorius.

Nel then moved on to an incident in which a gun went off at Tasha's restaurant in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg last year.

Nel told Pistorius that if the gun passed to him by his friend Darren Fresco had a safety mechanism, this meant that a shot could only go off if the trigger was pulled and Pistorius must have had his finger on the trigger and pulled it.

Pistorius refused to admit that he had pulled the trigger and was unable to explain how the gun had gone off. He would not, however, take responsibility for the gun going off, although he admitted it had been in his possession.

Nel used this as another example of what he claimed was Pistorius's absolute refusal to take responsibility for his actions.

Pistorius also told the court that he had heard that his ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor and friend Darren Fresco had communicated with each other before testifying to an incident in which he is alleged to have fired a shot through a car sunroof while driving back from the Vaal River.

Pistorius denied that he ever fired the shot and referred to the incident as a "complete fabrication".

When Nel asked him who had told him of this collusion, Pistorius replied: "I don't remember," prompting laughter from Nel and the gallery, who were sternly reprimanded by Judge Thokozile Masipa.

In the last moments before the lunch adjournment, Nel returned to the events on the day of Steenkamp's shooting, asking the athlete if he had intended to shoot whomever he believed was behind the door.

Pistorius maintained that he had not and that what had happened had been an accident.

"So your finger just accidentally shot when you started shooting accidentally at the intruder?" Pistorius, close to tears and looking tired and emotional, told the court that he was confused by Nel's use of the word “accident”, saying that he had been fearful and had not had time to think about his intentions when he fired the gun.

IT WAS NOT DELIBERATE: OSCAR - Sapa

Oscar Pistorius on Thursday claimed he did not remember firing four shots into a door in the deadly volley that killed Reeva Steenkamp.

He also told the High Court in Pretoria that he never touched the trigger of a Glock pistol that went off in his hand in a restaurant a few weeks earlier.

The double-amputee Olympic runner insisted his girlfriend's death was an accident, as he was cross-examined by State prosecutor Gerrie Nel for a second day in his murder trial.

"Do I remember firing four shots at the door? No, I don't... I remember pulling the trigger and rounds going into the door," Pistorius said.

Nel demanded to know if he had fired deliberately.

"I didn't mean to pull the trigger so in that sense it was an accident," Pistorius replied just before the court adjourned for lunch.

Earlier he said he did not know how it came about that a friend's pistol had fired a shot in a packed restaurant in Johannesburg while he was handling it.

"I didn't discharge the firearm. I don't remember having my finger on the trigger... I know my finger wasn't on the trigger," Pistorius said.

Not for the first time, Nel told the paralympic track star he was patently lying.

The prosecutor said it was impossible to set off that particular make of firearm without pressure on the trigger and Pistorius was therefore trying to convince the court of a "miracle".

"I'm putting it to you that you are lying. There is no way that firearm can discharge by itself," Nel said.

He added that Pistorius's response to the much-reported incident at Tasha's restaurant pointed to a pattern of failing to take responsibility for his actions, including killing his girlfriend.

"You just don't take responsibility for anything... you just don't do anything wrong."

The State indicated last year at Pistorius's bail hearing that it would adopt this argument as it tries to secure a conviction of premeditated murder that could see him jailed for life.

And for a second day, Pistorius struggled to remain calm as Nel went on the attack on all fronts -- from his attitude towards Steenkamp to the two times Pistorius allegedly set off a gun in public.

He asked why Pistorius had pleaded not guilty to charges relating to those incidents as well as being in possession of .38 ammunition without a licence.

Pistorius flatly denied having fired a shot from his handgun through the open sunroof of a car on an outing to the Vaal River, contradicting the testimony of two State witnesses who were with him.

"That story was fabricated, My Lady, it never happened."

Nel retorted: "But it's a bad fabrication .... it was a terrible fabrication between the two of them."

Earlier in the morning, Nel accused Pistorius of subjecting the Steenkamp family to a public spectacle by starting his testimony with a tearful apology from the stand, but stopping short of saying he was sorry for shooting dead the blonde model on Valentine's Day last year.

"The words 'I'm sorry I killed your daughter' were never in your apology ... You didn't think how they would feel sitting in a public court."

Pistorius started crying and said: "I'm terribly sorry that I took the life of their daughter."

Nel contends that Pistorius killed Steenkamp after the couple had a row, and on Thursday painstakingly took the athlete through arguments that played out in their text messages in the weeks before her death.

Reading out transcripts of Whatsapp messages, the prosecutor said Pistorius selfishly ignored Steenkamp's hurt feelings after they fought. When Steenkamp wrote that she had wanted to tell him that she was in love with him, he responded by suggesting a row at a friend's party was her fault.

"I'm the girl who fell in love with you and wanted to tell you this weekend," Nel quoted, and asked Pistorius why he did not reply to that sentiment.

"Wasn't that a significant event in your relationship? Why didn't you deal with that? You didn't care.

"You blamed her. Because it's all about Mr Pistorius. That's what your relationship was about," he sneered.

Nel continued to another message: "I get snapped at and told my accent and voices are annoying."

"What was that about?" he Nel.

Pistorius paused then said it happened while he was telling Steenkamp of a house he wanted to buy in Johannesburg.

"She was talking in an accent the whole time and it annoyed me," he said.

Nel again accused him of being selfish.

"I, Oscar was talking about my house and it's important to me that she listens to me... It's again about me, Oscar Pistorius."

OSCAR CANNOT REMEMBER FOUR SHOTS - Sapa

Murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius cannot remember firing four shots the night he killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, he told the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

The phrase, "I can't remember", became a refrain during the morning's cross-examination by prosecutor Gerrie Nel as Pistorius was questioned on the four charges he faces.

On the first, he is accused of killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his Silver Woods Estate townhouse on February 14 last year.

He fired through the door of his toilet, apparently believing an intruder was about to come out and attack him.

"I was later told there were four shots," he told Nel.

"You can't remember how many, but you can remember it was in quick succession?" Nel asked.

Nel reminded him that in his evidence-in-chief Pistorius said: "I fired four shots at the door."

Pistorius replied: "Do I remember firing four shots at the door? No I don't. I remember pulling the trigger and rounds going into the door."

Nel: "How do you remember?"

Pistorius: "That's where the firearm was pointed."

Nel kept probing, and returned to the question he asked at the end of Wednesday's proceedings.

"Did you fire deliberately?" Pistorius replied, no.

"I didn't mean to pull the trigger so in that sense it was an accident," he added.

Pistorius is also charged with illegal possession of ammunition and two counts of discharging a firearm in public.

Pistorius has gone from hero to devil: Reeva's mother - AFP

South African star sprinter Oscar Pistorius has gone from being a hero to a devil, Reeva Steenkamp’s mother June said in a British newspaper interview published Thursday.

She told the Daily Mirror she is obsessed with watching Pistorius’s every move in the Pretoria courtroom where he is being tried for the killing of her daughter, a law graduate, model and aspiring actress, on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

Prosecutors say the 27-year-old Paralympian and Olympian deliberately shot Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day after the couple had a fight. He says he shot her by accident through a locked bathroom door after mistaking her for an intruder.

“I look at Oscar the whole time, to see how he is coping, how he is behaving. I’m obsessed with looking at him, it’s just instinctive, I can’t explain it,” June Steenkamp told the British tabloid.

“I keep thinking: ‘let me see how he’s taking this’. He has been very dramatic, the vomiting and crying.

“I think he’s just about keeping himself together. I don’t know whether he’s acting.” June Steenkamp has never met Pistorius. The double amputee did not acknowledge her on the first day of the trial but did eventually look at her and say good morning.

“My presence unnerves him, I’m sure of it. He’s answerable to me,” she said.

“He must see me there in the court, he must feel my eyes boring into him, I think it makes a lot of difference.

“I do look at him too much, maybe. I like to see how he is reacting. I can see him very clearly, even without my glasses — he’s the only one I can see, he’s right in front of me.

“He has an aggressive persona, he’s used to having people adore him, so it must be pretty different for him now.

“He’s been spoilt by other people, that’s why he struts around and looks superior.

“He’s gone from hero to devil.” June Steenkamp, who has remained stoney-faced throughout much of the testimony during the trial, said she does not want to cry in court but when she returns to her hotel room each day “I start crying out, crying all the tears and pain I’ve held inside.” She said that particular images seen during the trial would remain with her until her dying day.

The 67-year-old said attending the trial was “hell” but she was “compelled to be there“. Her husband Barry is also determined to attend but has been too ill so far after suffering a stroke.

She said she did not care whether the Paralympics multiple gold medallist was convicted or not.

“He has to stand up to what he’s done and — if he has to — pay for it,” she told the Mirror.

“What difference is it going to make to me if he goes to prison for 25 years or is allowed to walk free? “I’m not a person who wants to punish him. I want my daughter back, but it’s never going to happen.

“She was the most wonderful, beautiful person, inside and out, and she was everything to Barry and me — our lives are destroyed.”

OSCAR ACCUSES EX OF LYING - Sapa

Oscar Pistorius accused his ex-girlfriend and a friend of lying under oath, during his murder trial in the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

"That is a lie," said Pistorius when challenged on his denial that he fired a shot out of a sunroof of a car on September 30, 2012.

"That story was fabricated My Lady, it never happened."

Nel retorted: "But it's a bad fabrication... it was a terrible fabrication between the two of them."

Pistorius said he had "heard" there had been communication between Samantha Taylor and Darren Fresco but he did not know who told him this.

The public gallery snorted at this and Nel laughed but immediately apologised.

"I apologise, My Lady, for laughing but I was surprised," said Nel, promising that it would not happen again.

Judge Thokozile Masipa looked at the court sternly and said: "You possibly think this is entertainment. It is not, so please restrain yourself."

Earlier, Pistorius said he could not remember going to a gun dealer at the dealer's private residence after the alleged Modderfontein incident, as Taylor had testified.

This week Taylor tweeted: "Last lies you get to tell. You better make it worth your while" -- after he had testified that she had tried to get back with him after they broke up, that she was with someone when he was overseas and that someone set up a fake Twitter account to pick on Steenkamp.

Taylor has deleted the comment.

Earlier on the day of the alleged Modderfontein shooting, he had been at the Vaal with friends.

Nel took Pistorius to task over the way he took care of his firearm while on a boat, at the get-together, and while having a swim.

Pistorius said he could not remember where he had worn his holster but "I carried my firearm wherever I was, My Lady".

He said he did not think he was being negligent by leaving the firearm under a towel when he went for a swim because of the people he was with.

"Why don't you just say it's wrong. You're incapable of using those words," said Nel.

Pistorius eventually conceded that he would have been negligent by leaving the gun under a towel when he jumped off the boat for a swim.

Firearms Act charges he faces relate to the discharge of a firearm at Tashas Restaurant in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg while he was handling it under a table and shooting out of a sunroof on the way back from the Vaal as well as storing ammunition for his father at his home.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges, including the fatal shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in his home. He said he thought there was an intruder when he fired at the toilet.

He discovered afterwards that she was in the toilet and that he had killed her.

He admitted the gun went off in his hand in Tashas but said he did not pull the trigger.

OSCAR ASKED ABOUT ILLEGAL AMMUNITION - Sapa

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius's father asked him if he could put ammunition in his safe despite the two not having spoken for many years, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

His father put the .38 ammunition in his safe while he was not at home, Pistorius told prosecutor Gerrie Nel during cross-examination.

He could not remember when he did this.

Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, illegal possession of ammunition, and two counts of discharging a firearm in public. He has pleaded not guilty to all four charges.

Nel told Pistorius his father had refused to make a statement in the case.

"My father and I haven't had communication between the two of us for many years," he replied.

Later however he said:

"He asked if he could keep the ammunition in the safe."

Pistorius then mentioned his lawyer Barry Roux, suggesting he had told the athlete it was permissible to keep somebody else's ammunition in his own safe without a licence.

"Are you telling me that Mr Roux told you were allowed to keep your father's ammunition in your safe if you're not a licence holder for .38 ammunition?"

A smiling Nel took off his glasses and looked over at Roux, who was sitting and looking down.

"I said to him (Roux) it was my understanding," Pistorius replied.

"Mr Roux would not have done it, I put it to you," Nel replied, raising his voice.

"He would have said no because it's illegal."

He pointed out it was the third time Pistorius had blamed his legal team for something.

"You are a gun enthusiast. You come from a family with lots of guns, 50 or more I read somewhere. If you are a gun enthusiast you would know the law. I don't understand why you plead not guilty. You just don't take responsibility," Nel told him.

Pistorius allegedly fired his friend Darren Fresco's Glock pistol under a table at Tasha's, in Johannesburg, in January 2013.

He also allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein on September 30, 2012.

He is accused of the murder of Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on February 14 last year.

He shot her through the locked door of his toilet, saying later he thought she was an intruder. She was struck in the hip, arm and head.

OSCAR CONCEDES GUN NEGLIGENCE - Sapa

Murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius conceded under cross-examination in the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday that he was negligent with the magazines of his guns.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked Pistorius: "Sometimes you're negligent as far as your other magazines are concerned?"

Pistorius answered: "That is correct, My Lady."

Pistorius told the court that when he was at his house in Pretoria he kept a magazine in his bedside table.

"When I was not at home, I locked the magazine in a safe," he said.

"Surely there are a couple of occasions that I forgot to lock it up."

Nel asked him if it was his understanding of the law that if he left the house he was allowed to keep the magazine in the bedside table. Pistorius said, no.

When asked why he kept the magazine in the bedside table, Pistorius answered: "For my safety My Lady."

Nel responded: "At least you agree with me that is illegal [to not lock your magazine in a safe]."

Pistorius is accused of deliberately killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. She was shot through the locked toilet door of his Pretoria home on February 14 last year.

He said he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty and in his plea statement denied he had argued with her shortly before the shooting.

He is also charged with illegal possession of ammunition and two counts of discharging a firearm in public.

The athlete has denied guilt on these charges.

REEVA NEVER SCARED OF OSCAR, COURT TOLD - Sapa

Oscar Pistorius's girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was never scared of him, he told the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

"No, My Lady, Reeva was never scared of me, My Lady," Pistorius said, replying to a question from prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Nel had spent much of Thursday focusing on four WhatsApp messages, out of 1700 with Steenkamp, which showed disagreements with Pistorius.

In one she said she was sometimes scared of him and that he snapped at her. Pistorius said he may have snapped at her but he had never shouted or screamed at her.

He is charged with murdering her in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year. He fired shots through a toilet door at his house, killing her. He has pleaded not guilty.

He also faces charges under the Firearms Act relating to the discharge of a friend's firearm in Tasha's restaurant in Melrose and allegedly firing a shot out of the sunroof of a car in Modderfontein.

Although he had the gun in his hand when it went off and had a firearm competency certificate, he has pleaded not guilty to the restaurant-related charge.

Nel called this a "miraculous" discharge and said Pistorius just asked his friend Darren Fresco to take the blame, again not taking responsibility for his actions.

In a message to Steenkamp, Pistorius asked her not to say anything about it because he feared that the media would report on it.

"My athletics is my job," said the paralympic and Olympic star.

"People read things and interpret things. So I didn't want this to be any where near the media."

Nel said: "So you see, that is a good example of you not taking responsibility."

Pistorius has denied the Modderfontein allegation.

He said he had offered to pay for damages to the restaurant owner, and that this was taking responsibility.

TASHA'S SHOOTING: MEDIA WOULD HAVE LIED - Sapa

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius asked his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp not to mention him allegedly firing a gun in a restaurant because the media would print lies, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

"Angel please don't say a thing to anyone," prosecutor Gerrie Nel quoted from a WhatsApp message Pistorius sent to Steenkamp. Nel was cross-examining the athlete.

He is charged with the murder of Steenkamp and three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act.

He allegedly fired a shot from his friend Darren Fresco's Glock pistol under a table at Tasha's, in Johannesburg, in January 2013. The restaurant was full and there were children at the next table at the time.

Nel asked him why it was important for Steenkamp not to mention the Tasha's shooting.

"I didn't want to be in the media for having a firearm in my possession in a restaurant," Pistorius replied, avoiding looking at Nel.

Nel suggested to Pistorius that he actually tried to shirk responsibility.

Pistorius: "It was a mistake on my behalf and I didn't want it to be taken out of context."

Nel: "You just thought the media would print lies?"

Pistorius: "That's correct."

The athlete is accused of deliberately killing Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on February 14 last year.

He shot her through the locked door of a toilet cubicle, saying later he thought she was an intruder.

He is also charged with illegal possession of ammunition and two counts of discharging a firearm in public, including the Tasha's incident.

He also allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein on September 30, 2012.

Pistorius has denied guilt on all the charges.

OSCAR'S DEFENCE CHALLENGED - Sapa

Oscar Pistorius was accused of using as his defence the phrase "I didn't have time to think", the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

This was after he denied to prosecutor Gerrie Nel that he had his finger on the trigger of a Glock firearm he was holding under the table in Tasha's restaurant in Melrose, Johannesburg, in January 2013.

The episode relates to charges against him under the Firearms Act to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Pistorius has admitted that his friend's gun went off in his hand while he was holding it.

Pistorius said: "I didn't pull the trigger, I didn't have time to think, My Lady."

Nel responded: "So that is one of your defences... 'I'm a gun enthusiast. I didn't have time to think'."

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp saying he shot without thinking towards a toilet door when he thought there were intruders coming into the house.

Cross-examined on Wednesday about the shooting, he said: "When I fired... I believed that someone was coming out of the toilet to attack me... I didn't have time to think about what was happening."

He later discovered Steenkamp was in the toilet. She died from being hit in the head, hip and thigh by three of the four bullets he fired.

TASHA'S SHOOTING: FINGER NOT ON TRIGGER - Sapa

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius's finger was never on the trigger of the gun that went off in his hands under a restaurant table, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

"I can't remember having my finger on the trigger," Pistorius told prosecutor Gerrie Nel during cross-examination.

Pistorius consistently avoided making eye contact with Nel and kept his gaze firmly on Judge Thokozile Masipa as he spoke.

The athlete is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act.

In one of these he allegedly fired a shot from his friend Darren Fresco's Glock pistol under a table at Tasha's in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, in January 2013.

The restaurant was full and there were children at the next table at the time.

Fresco had passed him the gun as Pistorius said he was considering buying a similar model.

"I tried to make sure that the firearm was safe. As the round came out of the breach I realised that the firearm was 'one up'. When I asked him (Fresco) why the firearm was 'one up' it went off," said Pistorius.

"One up" means there is a bullet in the chamber.

"I must then accept that the gun went off by itself? You just refuse to take responsibility for anything," Nel told him.

When Nel asked him what happened to the round ejected from the chamber, Pistorius at first could not remember, but then said it fell onto a chair.

"Then you remember all of a sudden," Nel said sarcastically.

Nel pointed out that this model of Glock had a safety mechanism on the trigger.

This means the gun cannot be fired unless a finger is on the trigger.

State witness ballistics expert Captain Chris Mangena, previously testified to this.

Nel then asked Pistorius why his lawyer Barry Roux had not cross-examined Mangena about this.

"If Mr Roux did not put it to Captain Mangena that it's possible for that gun to fire without pulling the trigger, he made a mistake," said Nel.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on February 14 last year.

He shot her through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder. She was struck in the hip, arm and head.

He is also charged with illegal possession of ammunition and shooting through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein on September 30, 2012.

Pistorius has denied guilt on all the charges.

REEVA UPSET BY 'BITCH' SONG - Sapa

Reeva Steenkamp was upset by the words of a song being played while driving with her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

"The words of the song upset her," said Pistorius, who is on trial charged with her murder.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the song was "Bitch don't kill my vibe" by American musician Kendrick Lamar.

After what Pistorius had described as not a good day in their relationship, Steenkamp wrote that she was "not some bitch" that was trying to kill his vibe.

Nel said: "Anybody would have taken offence to it."

Nel was picking apart a WhatsApp message Steenkamp sent Pistorius after an engagement party in which she raised some issues that had arisen during the day.

One of these was the way they related to each other over the changing of the song while the CD was playing as they were driving.

Nel said that Pistorius's response to Steenkamp as she raised her concerns was that it was all about him.

He humiliated her by telling her to stop tickling his neck.

He disagreed that telling her to chew gum would have been humiliating to her.

He said that his poor behaviour after being left out of a conversation was that "it didn't involve me" and he had not been afforded the "common courtesy" of an introduction.

"You see, you're blaming her for what happened. 'She should have introduced me to him, she was wrong'."

In the same vein, Pistorius had blamed Steenkamp for not just leaning forward to have the Lamar song changed.

"It was such a small thing that she could have just leant forward to change it," he said.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder after shooting Steenkamp through a toilet door.

He said he thought there was an intruder in his home when he fired four shots through the door, killing her.

'YOU DIDN'T CARE': NEL - Sapa

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius never cared about the feelings of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel was undertaking a line-by-line examination of WhatsApp messages Steenkamp sent to Pistorius in early 2013, weeks before he shot her dead. He is on trial for murder.

"I'm the girl who fell in love with you and wanted to tell you this weekend," Nel quoted one of her messages.

He asked Pistorius during cross-examination why he did not reply to this.

"Wasn't that a significant event in your relationship? Why didn't you deal with that? You didn't care," Nel said, answering his own question.

"Because it's all about Mr Pistorius. That's what your relationship was about," he said, continuing his line of argument that the athlete was selfish and often blamed her for things that annoyed him.

"When I read that message I was extremely upset. It was the first time that she had mentioned love to me," Pistorius replied.

Nel continued to another message: "I get snapped at and told my accent and voices are annoying."

"What was that about?" asked Nel.

Pistorius paused for several seconds before replying that he was discussing a house he wanted to buy in Johannesburg.

"She was talking in an accent the whole time and it annoyed me," he said.

Nel again accused him of being selfish.

"I, Oscar was talking about my house and it's important to me that she listens to me... It's again about me, Oscar Pistorius."

Pistorius is accused of the murder of Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on February 14 last year. He shot her through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder. She was struck in the hip, arm and head.

He is also charged with contraventions of the Firearms Control Act. He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

On September 30, 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

Tweet: ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius OP - firearm went off but I did not have my finger on the trigger

Tweet: ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Nel - why did you plead not guilty to the Tasha's incident? OP - I didn't discharge the firearm

Tweet: TMG Oscar ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Nel now trying to establish that the Kendrick song in question is "Bitch don't kill my vibe."

OSCAR: 'I NEVER SHOUTED AT REEVA' - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius was asked on Thursday to explain why his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp sent him a text message saying she was scared of him.

"Why would she be scared?" asked prosecutor Gerrie Nel, referring to an extract of a WhatsApp message she sent after an incident at a friend's engagement party.

"I am scared of u sometimes and how you snap at me and how u will react to me," wrote Steenkamp, according to evidence already presented in the High Court in Pretoria.

"She's scared of the feelings she had for me... she's obviously scared of the way I react to feeling she has sometimes," said Pistorius.

Nel asked if he had ever shouted at her.

"No, I never shouted and screamed at her," said Pistorius.

He was immediately taken to task over testimony by his former girlfriend Samantha Taylor who said there was a lot of "commotion" in their relationship and he denied shouting at her too.

He said he only shouted at her friend for bad behaviour at a party and accused her of lying.

"I did hear many things in Ms Taylor's evidence that were lies, so I don't think Mr Roux could keep up."

Nel wanted to know why he did not ask his counsel Barry Roux SC to question Taylor on this in one of the many notes he was seen passing up to the defence when she was testifying.

"If it was true, Mr Roux would have cross-examined her up and down," said Nel.

Pistorius has denied the charge of murder put to him and said he thought he was firing at an intruder when he shot through a toilet door killing Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

Tweet: ‏@GraemeHosken #OscarPistorius #OscarTrial prosecutor Nel shows how Oscar behaved towards Reeva in sms in their so called loving relationship

'IT'S ALL ABOUT I MR PISTORIUS': NEL - Sapa

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel sought to portray paralympian Oscar Pistorius as a selfish individual in his relationship with Reeva Steenkamp, in the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

"Thank you Mr Pistorius I've now got three I's. I had training. I had to go to lunch. I had plans," Nel told Pistorius during his cross-examination of the murder accused.

He was analysing a WhatsApp message Steenkamp sent to Pistorius in early 2013 after the couple had attend the engagement party of their mutual friend Darren Fresco.

In her message she mentions that he accused her of flirting with someone else, and said he "made a scene at the table".

Pistorius said he had to leave the party early as he had training the next day.

"She knew that I had training... I didn't know that she wanted to stay longer," Pistorius said.

Nel replied: "It's all about I. It's all about Mr Pistorius."

Pistorius is accused of the murder of Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on February 14 last year. He shot her through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder. She was struck in the hip, arm and head.

He is also charged with contraventions of the Firearms Control Act. He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

On September 30, 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

OSCAR'S APOLOGY QUESTIONED - Sapa

Oscar Pistorius's apology to Reeva Steenkamp's family said nothing about him killing her, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said in the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

"The word 'I'm sorry I killed her' is not there," said Nel.

Pistorius then told Nel that he was sorry for causing sorrow for the family and for taking the life of their daughter.

Nel demanded to know why he had not apologised privately, choosing instead to make them listen to it in a full court room with proceedings being televised globally.

"You didn't think how they would feel sitting in a public court," asked Nel.

"I'm not sure it was appropriate My Lady, but that's what I thought that was best," said Pistorius.

He added: "I don't think they would ever want to meet me. I completely understand where they are coming from."

Nel's theme was that in their short relationship, all attention was on Pistorius's needs as an international gold medal winning paralympic and Olympic athlete.

"Life is just about you, what's important to Oscar," said Nel.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp dead in his toilet at his house in Pretoria.

He has denied that he murdered her, saying he thought there was an intruder when he fired four shots through the toilet door.

OSCAR 'TERRIBLY SORRY' FOR 'TAKING HER LIFE' - Sapa

Murder accused Oscar Pistorius told the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday he was "terribly sorry" that he killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel read out an extract of Pistorius's apology to the Steenkamp family from Monday and said: "The words 'I'm sorry I killed your daughter' were never in your apology."

Breaking down, Pistorius said: "I'm terribly sorry that I took the life of their daughter."

Nel responded: "Now you say it."

Nel asked Pistorius if he wrote down his apology. The athlete said no.

Steenkamp's mother June was in court with her lawyer Dup du Bruyn, a friend, and Steenkamp's cousin.

Thursday was day 20 in his murder trial and his fourth day on the witness stand.

He shot Steenkamp through the locked toilet door of his Pretoria home on February 14 last year.

He said he mistook her for an intruder. He has pleaded not guilty to murder and in his plea statement denied he had argued with her shortly before the shooting.

He also faces two charges related to contravening the Firearms Control Act, to which he has denied guilt.

Tweet: ‏@GraemeHosken #OscarPistorius #OscarTrial Gerrie Nel grilling Oscar on his ph messages and why no "I love you"

OSCAR NEVER TOLD REEVA HE LOVED HER - Sapa

Murder accused Oscar Pistorius never told Reeva Steenkamp he loved her in his cellphone text messages, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

"I never got the opportunity to tell her I loved her," Pistorius said during cross-examination by prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Nel was questioning the paralympic athlete about his relationship with his girlfriend in January and February 2013.

Nel said he examined WhatsApp messages on Steenkamp's phone.

"The phrase 'I love you' appears twice on Reeva's WhatsApp, both times to her mother, never to you."

Pistorius is accused of the murder of Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on February 14 last year. He shot her through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder. She was struck in the hip, arm and head.

Nel said Pistorius never sent Steenkamp a long message telling her how he felt about her.

"I was on my phone for a lot of other reasons. I didn't write any long messages. I preferred to discuss things with her in private or when I saw her," Pistorius replied.

In the first minute of Nel's cross-examination he twice mentioned to Pistorius that Steenkamp "was killed by you".

He has been at pains to point this out since he began questioning him on Monday.

Pistorius is also charged with contraventions of the Firearms Control Act.

He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013. On September 30, 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

Tweet: @OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Nel - why create a public spectacle and apologise in the public eye and not in private?

Tweet: ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Nel - you started your evidence with an apology. A year later, what did you apologise for? Did you feel better after that?

Tweet: ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Nel - you're only concerned about what's good for Oscar

Tweet: ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius OP - I never got a chance to tell her I loved her

Tweet: ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius OP says relationship at this time was stronger, they were getting to know each other better

Tweet: ‏@OscarsTrial #OscarPistorius Nel asks about their relationship in January, February 2013

'DAY FOUR OF OSCAR IN STAND - Sapa

A journalist sprinkled salt on her boiled egg and another uncoiled an extension cord as people in court GD waited on Thursday for the fourth day of Oscar Pistorius's testimony at the High Court in Pretoria.

Various police officers who had testified for the State in the paralympian's murder trial arrived in court, including ballistics expert Captain Chris Mangena.

Captain Francois Moller, who had previously testified about the data he downloaded from the iPhones of Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, did his tie.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on February 14 last year. He shot her through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder. She was struck in the hip, arm and head.

A picture of a female rhino and her calf was displayed on the screens around the court, where on Wednesday a photo of Steenkamp's bloodied head had appeared.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel had tried unsuccessfully to force Pistorius to look at it, in an attempt to have him state responsibility for killing Steenkamp.

Nel came into court through the side entrance at 9.15am and began arranging his files on his desk.

Pistorius entered a few minutes later and stood in the witness box talking to a grey-haired woman who hugged him.

Pistorius is also charged with contraventions of the Firearms Control Act. He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

On September 30, 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

June Steenkamp 'unmoved' by Oscar's apology: report - Sapa

June Steenkamp, the mother of Reeva who was shot dead by paralympian Oscar Pistorius, has said she was "unmoved" by his apology, according to a report.

"I look at Oscar the whole time to see how he is coping, how he is behaving. I'm obsessed with looking at him, it's just instinctive, I can't explain it," said Steenkamp to the UK-based Daily Mirror newspaper.

"I keep thinking, 'let me see how he's taking this'. He has been very dramatic, the vomiting and crying... I don't know whether he's acting."

The UK Press Association reported on Thursday on the Daily Mirror's interview with Steenkamp, who said it was "very traumatic" to listen to the graphic detail of the case.

She said she was prepared for his emotional apology when he took the stand on Monday.

"It left me unmoved. I knew it was coming. My lawyers had prepared me for it.

"I cried for the first time, ‘Yes', but not because he apologised, because of the suffering and agony that my darling daughter went through and because I will never have her again."

Pistorius is facing a charge of premedited murder after firing four shots through a locked bathroom door, of which three hit and killed Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day last year.

He has said it was an accident and that he had feared for his and Reeva's lives after believing an intruder had entered his home in a security estate in Pretoria.

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