Pistorius had ‘no intention’ to kill girlfriend Steenkamp

Updated 19 February 2013
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Pistorius had ‘no intention’ to kill girlfriend Steenkamp

PRETORIA: South African sporting hero Oscar Pistorius insisted yesterday he did not intend to kill his girlfriend after being accused of shooting her repeatedly through a locked bathroom door in what prosecutors said was a “premeditated” Valentine’s Day murder.
“I had no intention to kill my girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp,” the 26-year-old said in an affidavit read out at a court hearing in Pretoria, his first public comments since the Feb. 14 killing.
Magistrate Desmond Nair hinted strongly that the double-amputee Olympian and Paralympian “Blade Runner” would not be released on bail and could face a charge of premeditated murder.
The bail hearing has been adjourned to Wednesday to allow the prosecution time to study affidavits submitted by the defense.
But Pistorius said he fired at the door of the bathroom where his 29-year-old lover was hiding as he was “filled with horrible fear” that someone had sneaked into his luxury Pretoria home through an open window. “I fired shots at the door and shouted at the toilet,” he said in the affidavit. “We were deeply in love and couldn’t be more happy.” Prosecutor Gerrie Nel had told the court Pistorius had armed himself, put on his prosthetic legs, walked seven meters and fired four shots through the locked bathroom door, hitting a terrified Steenkamp three times and fatally wounding her.
“She could go nowhere,” he said, adding that Pistorius had “shot and killed an unarmed innocent woman.”
He said law graduate and model Steenkamp had arrived at Pistorius’s home on Wednesday evening with an overnight bag, seeking to counter claims that the athlete had mistaken her for an intruder. As the court hearing was under way in the South African capital, Steenkamp was being laid to rest at an emotional private ceremony at a crematorium in her hometown of Port Elizabeth.
Pistorius’ career has been put on hold since the shooting, forcing him to cancel races in Australia, Brazil, Britain and the United States between March and May.
Pistorius’s heavyweight legal team rejected claims that the killing was premeditated. “We submit it’s not even a murder. There’s no concession that it’s murder,” said lawyer Barry Roux.
Roux challenged the claim that Pistorius put on his prostheses before shooting and argued the runner believed the person in the bathroom was an intruder. “I will put before court case after case where husbands through accident shot wives... believing it was an intruder,” said Roux. “Is that now preplanned murder?” Roux also claimed Pistorius had broken down the door to help Steenkamp, who had been going out with the athlete since late last year.
Magistrate Nair said he could not rule out that there was some planning involved in the killing, which may be considered as a premeditated murder for the purposes of bail. In Port Elizabeth, tearful friends and family said goodbye to Steenkamp, whose cloth-draped coffin with white flowers laid on top was carried into a chapel in the southeastern coastal city where she grew up.
“It’s kind of only sinking in now that I’m actually here, that she’s really gone,” said Bongiwe Gaxambaa, one of Steenkamp’s classmates at a local private Catholic school. A funeral program simply entitled “Reeva,” with the dates of her birth and death on it, showed a black-and-white portrait of Steenkamp with the words “God’s Gift, A Child” written on the back.
“There’s a space missing inside all of the people that she knew that can’t be filled again,” her brother Adam, who gave the eulogy, told reporters after the ceremony.
“We’ll miss her.”













On Saturday a celebrity television show aired haunting footage of Steenkamp speaking about the need to leave a positive mark on life, words laden with poignancy after her death.
Pistorius, who off the track has a rocky private life of rash behavior, beautiful women, guns and fast cars, has built up a powerful team of lawyers, medical specialists and public relations experts for his defense.
Stuart Higgins, a former editor of British tabloid The Sun, whose lengthy list of clients includes British Airways, Chelsea FC and Manchester United football club, has taken over his public relations.
One of his lawyers, Kenny Oldwage, defended the driver in a 2010 accident that killed former president Nelson Mandela’s great-grandchild Zenani. The driver was acquitted.


Leaders of two Koreas hold surprise meeting as Trump revives summit hopes

Updated 27 May 2018
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Leaders of two Koreas hold surprise meeting as Trump revives summit hopes

SEOUL/WASHINGTON: South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a surprise meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday in an effort to ensure that a high-stakes summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump takes place successfully, South Korean officials said.
The meeting was the latest dramatic turn in a week of diplomatic flip-flops surrounding the prospects for an unprecedented summit between the United States and North Korea, and the strongest sign yet that the two Korean leaders are trying to keep the on-again off-again summit on track.
Their two hours of talks at the Panmunjom border village came a month after they held the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade at the same venue. At that meeting, they declared they would work toward a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.
“The two leaders candidly exchanged views about making the North Korea-US summit a successful one and about implementing the Panmunjom Declaration,” South Korea’s presidential spokesman said in a statement. He did not confirm how the meeting was arranged or which side asked for it.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment. But White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said an advance team of White House and US State Department officials would leave for Singapore on schedule this weekend to prepare for a possible summit there.
Reuters reported earlier this week that a US advance team was scheduled to discuss the agenda and logistics for the summit with North Korean officials.
“There is a very strong possibility a US-North Korea summit could be back on very soon,” said Harry Kazianis of the conservative Center for the National Interest think-tank in Washington.
Whether one takes place depends on Kim agreeing to some sort of a realistic and verifiable denuclearization plan, added Kazianis, citing his own Trump administration sources. “If not, no summit. That is what it hinges on,” he said.
TRUMP HAILS “PRODUCTIVE TALKS“
In a letter to Kim on Thursday, Trump had said he was canceling the summit planned for June 12 in Singapore, citing North Korea’s “open hostility.”
But on Friday he indicated the meeting could be salvaged after welcoming a conciliatory statement from Pyongyang.
“We’re talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
In a tweet later, Trump cited “very productive talks” and said that if the summit were reinstated it would likely remain in Singapore on June 12, and that it could be extended if necessary.
A senior White House official told reporters on Thursday that organizing a summit by June 12 could be a challenge, given the amount of dialogue needed to ensure a clear agenda.
“And June 12 is in ... 10 minutes,” the official said.
If the summit is not held, some analysts warn that the prospect of a military confrontation between the two nations would rise, while a successful summit would mark Trump’s biggest foreign policy achievement.
The Trump administration is demanding that North Korea completely and irreversibly shutter its nuclear weapons program. Kim and Trump’s initial decision to meet followed months of war threats and insults between the leaders over the program.
Pyongyang has conducted six nuclear tests, and has developed a long-range missile that could theoretically hit anywhere in the United States. Experts, however, are doubtful that North Korea possesses a warhead capable of surviving the stresses of re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.
Video and a photo released by South Korea’s presidential Blue House on Saturday showed Kim hugging Moon and kissing him on the cheek three times as he saw Moon off after their meeting at Tongilgak, the North’s building in the truce village, which lies in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) — the 2.5-mile (4 km) wide buffer that runs along the heavily armed military border.
Video footage also showed Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, greeting Moon as he arrived at Tongilgak and shaking hands, before the South Korean leader entered the building flanked by North Korean military guards.
Moon is the only South Korean leader to have met a North Korean leader twice, both times in the DMZ, which is a symbol of the unending hostilities between the nations after the Korean War ended in 1953 in a truce, not a peace treaty.