Pistorius says ‘no intention’ to kill girlfriend

Agence France Presse

Published — Tuesday 19 February 2013

Last update 20 February 2013 12:02 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

PRETORIA: South African Olympic hero Oscar Pistorius on Tuesday tearfully denied the premeditated murder of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, telling a court he shot at her through a locked bathroom door believing she was an intruder.
“I am absolutely mortified by the events and the devastating loss of my beloved Reeva,” Pistorius said in an affidavit at a court hearing in the capital Pretoria, his first public comments on the Valentine’s Day killing.
The 26-year-old double amputee track star broke down in tears repeatedly as his own words filled the court: “We were deeply in love and couldn’t be more happy.”
“I had no intention to kill my girlfriend,” he said in the statement, read out by his lawyer as Pistorius sat in the dock, struggling to hold his composure.
At one point the court was forced to break so the track star could get himself together.
“He’s definitely been broken,” his public relations manager Stuart Higgins said.
As the court hearing was under way, Steenkamp was being laid to rest at an emotional private ceremony at a crematorium in her hometown of Port Elizabeth.
The “Blade Runner” became an inspiration to millions when he became the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in the Olympics.
He now faces a charge of premeditated murder, which will likely result in remand without bail and, if convicted, a life sentence behind bars.
Pistorius said the couple, who had been dating since late last year, had spent the evening at his upscale Pretoria home watching television and with the 29-year-old Steenkamp doing yoga.
He awoke in the dead of night to bring in a fan from the balcony when he heard a noise.
“Filled with horror and fear” that someone was in the bathroom, he said he felt “very vulnerable” because he did not have his prosthetic legs on.
“I fired shots at the toilet door and shouted to Reeva to phone the police.
“Reeva was not responding. When I reached the bed, I realized that Reeva was not in bed.
“That is when it dawned on me that it could have been Reeva who was in the toilet.”
After smashing the door with a cricket bat, Pistorius said “Reeva was slumped over but alive“
“I tried to render the assistance to Reeva that I could, but she died in my arms.”
He said he kept a firearm, a 9 mm Parabellum, under his bed at night because he had been a “victim of violence and burglaries before.”
He was not only acutely aware of intruders intending to commit violent crime but that “I have received death threats before.”
Prosecutors argued that far from being an accident, Steenkamp’s death was a premeditated act of murder.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court Pistorius had armed himself, put on his prosthetic legs, walked seven meters and fired four shots into the bathroom door, hitting a terrified Steenkamp three times and fatally wounding her.
“She could go nowhere,” Nel said. “She locked the door for a purpose. We will get to that purpose.”
There was no decision on bail Tuesday, with court proceedings adjourned until Wednesday.
Prosecution spokesman Medupe S’Maiku said the hearings could take all week.
Magistrate Desmond 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.
But Pistorius’s legal team rejected the claims as he sought to argue he was not a flight risk.
Pistorius revealed he earned 5.6 million rand ($640,000) a year and owned the $570,000 house in the gated estate where the killing took place and two other homes.
Lawyers submitted affidavits from friends of both Pistorius and Steenkamp, which spoke of the couple’s close relationship.
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.
In 2009 Pistorius — who once admitted to a newspaper that he slept with a pistol, machine gun, cricket bat and baseball bat for fear of burglars — spent a night in jail after allegedly assaulting a 19-year-old woman at a party.
Meanwhile 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.
“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, said after the ceremony. “We’ll miss her.”
A funeral program simply entitled “Reeva” bore the dates of her birth and death, and a black-and-white portrait of Steenkamp with the words “God’s Gift, A Child” written on the back.
Pistorius, a Paralympian gold-medallist, became the first double amputee to run against able-bodied athletes at last year’s Olympics in London on the carbon-fiber running blades that inspired his nickname.
But his 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.
The case has shocked South Africa, where Pistorius is still considered by many to be a shining example of how individuals can triumph over adversity.
South Africa’s sports minister on Tuesday expressed shock and disbelief that the star has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend as the country battles epidemic levels of violence against women.
“None of our sporting heroes and heroines should be associated with such acts of violence against women and children,” said Fikile Mbalula.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The College of American Pathologists (CAP) has ranked the laboratory of the National Guard’s King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC) in Riyadh as one of the “best in the world.”Abdulaziz Al-Ajlan, head of the hospital’s pathology and laboratory sc...
JEDDAH: The General Directorate of Passports has announced that fingerprints are mandatory for Saudis to acquire or renew passports and national identity cards, a local publication reported Wednesday. The rule will apply to both male and female natio...
RIYADH: A group of doctors at the King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC) here successfully performed surgery on a Polish infant on Tuesday, following a directive of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.One-year-old Jakub, accompanied by his fath...
JEDDAH: The White House has praised the efforts of Saudi Arabia to cut off funding for the Daesh terrorist group, local media reported Wednesday.“We have seen some significant international effort to eliminate funding lines off Daesh. This effort is...
RIYADH: The World Health Organization has announced that the Kingdom has become the first Arab country and the tenth internationally to join the protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products. The announcement was made by the director genera...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Education has banned teachers, administrators, parents and students from taking videos or pictures inside schools, with only officially sanctioned documentation allowed.The ban applies to all public and private schools and kin...
RIYADH: In Riyadh, the temperature dipped to 16 degree Celsius on Wednesday noon and darkness enveloped the streets as the sky was overcast with thick clouds. Many low-lying areas and streets were flooded due to the heavy rain on Wednesday and interm...
JEDDAH: Social media is not always a waste of time, particularly for students. An English teacher at a school in Ahad Rafidah in Asir region has been using WhatsApp to communicate with his students and teach them words and pronunciation.According to...
RIYADH: The fifth edition of National Urban Heritage Forum (NUHF) will open on Monday in Qassim under the patronage of Gov. Prince Faisal bin Mishaal in the presence of Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Natio...
RIYADH: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia leads the GCC countries in terms of spending on telecom and IT services in 2014, with a total expenditure of SR112 billion, says a report released by the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC)....
RIYADH: The Saudi Control and Investigation Board (CIB) has detected violations of rules and regulations in 903 schools in the provinces and cities across the Kingdom. “The violations include hiring of non-Saudi teachers and foreigners holding admini...
JEDDAH: A high school student was killed and his younger sister seriously injured when he lost control over the car he was driving and hit an electricity pole in Qia area of Taif on Wednesday morning.The vehicle reportedly veered off as a result of a...
RIYADH: The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) has issued a warning that unregistered skin-lightening products are being sold on the Internet containing toxic substances that can cause serious health problems for users.These products claiming to bl...
NEW YORK: The Kingdom has drawn the world’s attention again to the racist and inhuman rhetoric against Muslim refugees.It also called on all countries and humanitarian agencies, civil society organizations and the media to abandon any racist speeches...
RIYADH: Various parts of the Kingdom, including Riyadh, Qassim, Hofuf and the Eastern Province, experienced rainfall throughout the day on Tuesday.In view of the inclement weather forecast, all schools in the Riyadh and Qassim will remain closed on W...

Events & Exhibitions

Stay Connected