Oscar Pistorius heard a stark summary of how he shot his
girlfriend. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
The prosecutor in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius
ended his five-day cross-examination of the double amputee
track athlete with a stark summary of how he shot his
girlfriend, insisting he killed her deliberately after an
"You fired four shots through the door whilst knowing that
she was standing behind the door," said prosecutor Gerrie
Nel, known in South Africa as "The Pitbull" for his hectoring
style of questioning.
"She was locked into the bathroom and you armed yourself with
the sole purpose of shooting and killing her."
"That is not true," said 27-year-old Pistorius, who faces
life in prison if convicted of murder.
Pistorius has broken down in tears on many occasions during
the questioning, and at one point retched into a bucket on
the witness stand after being shown grisly pictures of Reeva
Steenkamp after the shooting on Valentine's Day last year.
He insists he killed the 29-year-old law graduate and model
accidentally after mistaking her for an intruder hiding
behind a closed toilet door.
He told the court he had pulled the trigger without thinking
after hearing a noise behind the door, out of terror and fear
that his and Steenkamp's lives were in danger.
"I was extremely fearful, overcome with a sense of terror and
vulnerability," said Pistorius, whose lower legs were
amputated as a baby.
"I didn't think about pulling the trigger, as soon as I heard
the noise, before I could think about it, I pulled the
The athlete's voice quivered as he recounted how he was
"overcome with terror and despair" on finding her bloodied
body slumped against the toilet after he broke down the door
with a cricket bat.
"I was broken, I was overcome, filled with sadness," he told
judge Thokozile Masipa, adding he urged Steenkamp to hold on
while he sought help from neighbours at his high security
Pistorius insists he and Steenkamp were in a loving, if
fledgling, relationship, despite phone text messages read in
court which pointed to some arguments. On Tuesday he read a
Valentine's Day card his girlfriend got for him before her
"Roses are red, violets are blue," the card begins.
"I think today is a good day to tell you that I love you,"
the message concludes, the last part in Steenkamp's own
The trial has drawn wide interest both in South Africa and
Before the shooting, Pistorius was one of South Africa's most
revered sportsmen, admired for his prowess on the track using
carbon-fibre prosthetics that earned him the nickname "The
Blade Runner" and brought him a clutch of Paralympic medals.
The defence later moved onto questioning its third witness,
with the trial looking likely to run into next month.