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Monday 5 June 2023 Dublin: 16°C
Themba Hadebe
# Oscar Pistorius
'I think today is a good day to tell you that I love you' - Reeva's message to Pistorius on day of shooting
The athlete read out the Valentine’s Day card that his model girlfriend left for him on 14 February last year – the day she was shot and killed at his house.

Updated 10.55am

OSCAR PISTORIUS HAS finished giving evidence at his murder trial at a Pretoria courtroom in South Africa.

For his re-examination following cross-examination, defence counsel Barry Roux did not keep the athlete long on the stand.

He gave him a chance to reiterate his position that he was ‘scared for his life’ and “overcome with a sense of terror and vulnerability” when he shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in the early hours of 14 February last year.

He also noted that he did not consciously pull the trigger.

Going over some earlier evidence used by the State’s prosecutors, Roux showed an image of the victim’s denim jeans which were inside out in one photo and in a different state in another, pointing to a possible tampering with the scene.

Before allowed the accused to exit the witness box, Roux asked him to read a card that Reeva Steenkamp had left for him for Valentine’s Day last year.

On the envelope, she had drawn love hearts and written her boyfriend’s nickname – Ozzy.

Inside, she had written:

I think today is a good day to tell you that I love you.

Earlier, the relentless Gerrie Nel – also known as the Pitbull – pushed the athlete on a number of points of evidence for about 90 minutes today before wrapping up this morning.

“I have nothing further for this witness,” he said, leaving an exhausted and emotional 27-year-old in the dock.

The athlete has faced five almost-full days of gruelling questions about the events leading up to the morning of the 14 February last year.

During his time with Pistorius, Nel had accused the sprinter of lying, tailoring evidence and faking emotion when the difficult questions came up.

His relationship with Reeva Steenkamp was examined in minute detail, with their WhatsApp messages pulled apart sentence by sentence, word by word. His enthusiasm for firearms and his apparently erratic temperament were also referred to by Nel.

Today, the lawyer recapped over much of what the State believes happened on that fateful day in the Paralympian’s home.

Prosecutors contend that the couple had an argument and that Pistorius knowingly shot her in what is described as pre-meditated murder. The accused denies the charge. He admits to shooting the victim but insists that it was a case of mistaken identity and he believed there was an intruder in the bathroom when he shot four bullets through the door.

Pistorius says he did not intend to kill anybody that morning.

Before concluding today, Nel asked Pistorius who should be blamed for the death of his 30-year-old girlfriend.

“Should we blame Reeva?” he asked. “For not telling you she was going to the bathroom? Who should we blame for the fact that you shot her?”

Pistorius replied that he did not know who should be blamed and that he was scared.

Pushed on the matter, the accused agreed that he should not be blamed. Nel also asked why Black Talon bullets were used to “rip through her body”.

Pistorius simply responded that they are the ammunition used in his type of firearm.

As he finally finshed up, Nel told the court that the accused’s version of events could not be true.

Summing up, Nel mentioned that Reeva had eaten two hours before being shot dead, putting the time at 1am, long after Pistorius said they went to bed.

He recalled evidence given by three neighbours that they heard “bloodcurdling screams”. Nel put this down to her trying to escape from the house.

“You shot four shots through the door while you were talking to her. You armed yourself with the sole purpose of killing her,” he continued as Pistorius began to cry.

Reporters in South Africa believe that Nel managed to pick a number of holes in Pistorius’s case – revealing inconsistencies in his account and highlighting his selective memory.

There is some commentary that his case could be in a weaker position thanks to five days with the Pitbull.

The trial continues but Judge Mapisa will decide tomorrow morning whether to grant a postponement on Friday until 5 May.

Defence counsel agreed to the delay, noting that the State had informed them of pressing matters in other cases and personal issues that had arisen.

If the postponement is granted, Pistorius’s lawyer Barry Roux said his case would be wrapped up by 16 May at the latest but added that he could not account for how long Nel would cross-examine the witnesses.

RECAP: 7 things we heard at the Oscar Pistorius trial this week

Prosecutor: Pistorius story doesn’t add up

Oscar Pistorius Judge: This trial is not public entertainment

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