Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius told a South African court today that he thought his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was a burglar when he shot her four times through his bathroom door.Prosecutors allege that the shooting was premeditated murder.
According to Pistorius’ version of events, he went to close the balcony door when heard a noise in the bathroom.
Here’s what he said in an affidavit read by his lawyers at his bail hearing today (which you can read in full at the London Evening Standard):
“I woke up, went onto the balcony to bring the fan in and closed the sliding doors, the blinds and the curtains. I heard a noise in the bathroom and realised that someone was in the bathroom. I felt a sense of terror rushing over me. (…)
“I was too scared to switch a light on. I grabbed my 9mm pistol from underneath my bed. On my way to the bathroom I screamed words to the effect for him/them to get out of my house and for Reeva to phone the police. (…)
“As I did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable, I knew I had to protect Reeva and myself. (…) I felt trapped as my bedroom door was locked and I have limited mobility on my stumps. (…)
“I fired shots at the toilet door and shouted to Reeva to phone the police. She did not respond and I moved backwards out of the bathroom, keeping my eyes on the bathroom entrance. (…) Reeva was not responding. When I reached the bed, I realised that Reeva was not in bed. That is when it dawned on me that it could have been Reeva who was in the toilet.”
He says he then put on his prosthetic legs, busted down the door with a cricket bat and called the paramedics.
“I had no intention to kill my girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp,” he said.
Added one of Pistorius’ lawyers (via the Telegraph), “All we really know is she locked herself behind the toilet door and she was shot.”
In the hours immediately after the shooting, rumours surfaced that it was a tragic case of mistaken identity. Police said those rumours didn’t come from them, but now Pistorius looks to be using it as his official defence.
The prosecution’s version of events is different.
As the Telegraph reports, they allege that Pistorius put on his prosthetic legs before the shooting, walked to the bathroom door, and shot four times.
“If I arm myself, walk a distance and murder a person, that is premeditated,” prosecutor Gerrie Nel said, according to the Telegraph.
“Pre-plan doesn’t means months, weeks or hours,” he told the court, referring to the premeditated murder charge, reports David Smith of the Guardian.
Nel alleged that the two had an argument before the shooting, but said he wouldn’t speculate on a motive at this stage.
There are a few details that weren’t addressed in the bail hearing today. Over the weekend, reports surfaced that that cricket bat Pistorius says he used to bust down the bathroom door was covered in blood.
In addition, the Sun reported yesterday that steroids were found at Pistorius’ home.
Pistorius’ trial may not begin for another year, so it may take a while to get a fuller picture of what happened that night.
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