Oscar Pistorius weeps in the dock during his trial at the
North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. REUTERS/Chris
Oscar Pistorius has an anxiety disorder brought on by an
unstable childhood and the "traumatic assault" of having his
lower legs amputated as a baby, a psychologist told the court
hearing the South African track star's murder trial.
Pistorius was born without fibulas in his lower legs, leading
to amputation at the age of 11 months.
Testifying for the defence about his mental state, forensic
psychiatrist Merryl Vorster said that because the surgery was
at such a young age, it would have been impossible to reason
with the baby, making the pyschological scars much deeper.
"He was too young to understand why," Vorster told the court.
"His mother could not have comforted him because he was
pre-language phase. It would been perceived as traumatic
Pistorius is on trial for murder after shooting and killing
his girlfriend, 29-year-old law graduate and model, Reeva
Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.
The athlete says the shooting was a tragic mistake, and that
he shot at a closed toilet door in his luxury Pretoria home
thinking an intruder was hiding behind it.
The states alleges he fired at Steenkamp in a fit of rage
after the couple had a row in the early hours of the morning.
If convicted of murder, Pistorius faces life in prison.
Vorster also said his parents' divorce when he was a child
would have added to the 27-year-old's general feelings of
anxiety and insecurity.
After his parents split, Pistorius was brought up by his
mother, who died of cancer when he was aged 15. Pistorius has
frequently spoken of his love for his mother and the
difficulty her death caused him.
However, in her assessment of the athlete, Vorster said
Pistorius' mother grew increasingly anxious and drank
excessively, making it impossible for her to address the
fears and concerns of her children.
Terrified of intruders breaking into the house, she slept
with a pistol under her pillow, Vorster told the court.
Pistorius competed against able-bodied spinters on
carbon-fibre prosthetics, becoming one of the most recognised
names in athletics. Besides a clutch of Paralympic medals, he
reached the semi-finals of the 400m at the London 2012