“YOU KILLED A person, that’s what you did,” was the State’s reaction to Oscar Pistorius’s claim that he had made a mistake in the early hours of Valentine’s Day when he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door.
“You shot and killed her, won’t you take responsibility for that?” prosecution lawyer Gerrie Nel said impatiently to the witness box.
The 27-year-old athlete faced a fierce cross-examination from Nel throughout the day, with a particular shocking moment when a video of Pistorius shooting a watermelon was shown.
“You know that’s the same that happened to Reeva’s head,” Nel told his witness, who was becoming more emotional as the day wore on.
The lawyer then quickly showed the court a shocking photo of the victim after the shooting. She had blood-drenched hair and brain matter was visible.
That’s it. Have a look there, I know you don’t want to because you don’t want to take responsibility.
“My Lady, I’ve taken responsibility…I don’t want to look at a picture where I’m tormented by what I saw. I don’t have to see a picture. I remember it. My fingers touched her head,” he said through tears.
The victim’s parents were in court today and June Steenkamp told reporters during a break that she understands the reason for showing her daughter’s horrific wounds.
According to reporters at the courthouse, she was given warning that Nel would be using the image. The Steenkamps remained unemotional and stone-faced throughout the testimony, whispering to each other on a few occasions.
Judge Mapisa, however, did object to the comparison with a watermelon and asked for the picture being flashed to be removed.
Following an adjournment to allow Pistorius to compose himself, the arguments became more technical – about why some of his statements are slightly different to his bail application and why he is adamant that the scene was ‘tampered’ with.
Pistorius conceded that he did not go out to the balcony, as had been previously been claimed. He explained that he got the fan from the balcony but did not go out onto it.
Nel also accused the Paralympian of being overly-prepared for the cross-examination and not answering questions wholly and truthfully. The lawyer put it to him that he was thinking about the repercussions of everything he says.
Pistorius agrees, telling him that his life is on the line.
“Reeva doesn’t have a life anymore because of what you’ve done,” countered Nel, asking him to tell the truth and not to just “think of [the] implications for you”.
Earlier, Pistorius told the court that he “did not intend to kill Reeva or anybody else”. He also confirmed that Reeva had died in his arms.
The trial continues tomorrow at 8.30am (Irish time).