Pistorius ‘torn apart’
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) – A neighbour and friend of Oscar Pistorius testified today that the double-amputee athlete was “torn apart” and desperately trying to save Reeva Steenkamp minutes after fatally shooting her at his home last year.
Johan Stander and his daughter were at Pistorius’ house soon after the shooting in the early hours of February 14, 2013, and Stander testified that he believed that the Olympian had made a mistake when he shot and killed Steenkamp because of the runner’s emotional state when they found him.
“I saw the truth there that morning. I saw it and I felt it,” Stander testified, saying Pistorius was “really crying. He was in pain”.
Stander was the fourth witness called by the defence and took the stand as the globally televised trial resumed after a two-week recess and moved into its seventh week.
Pistorius’ defence was attempting to present a scenario of Pistorius’ desperate panic at shooting his girlfriend in error through a toilet door after thinking she was a dangerous intruder, as he claims.
Prosecutors maintain Pistorius, 27, is lying and his story is designed to cover up that he shot the model and reality TV star intentionally in the midst of a heated night time argument.
Stander became emotional at one point as he described what he said was Pistorius’ “committed” attempt to save Steenkamp’s life as she lay on the floor of his Pretoria villa. Stander’s daughter Carice Viljoen, who also took the stand today, cried as she testified that she tried to stop the bleeding from a gunshot wound in Steenkamp’s arm. Steenkamp had been shot in the hip, arm and head by Pistorius through the stall door in his upstairs bathroom minutes earlier.
Stander lived in the same gated community as Pistorius and was once on the estate’s management committee. He said that he received a telephone call from Pistorius at 3:18 or 3:19 a.m., minutes after the shooting, and the world-famous runner pleaded with him to come to his home and help.
Stander said he and his daughter found Pistorius carrying Steenkamp down the stairs of his upscale villa when they went in.
“It’s not something I would like to experience again, my lady,” Stander said, addressing the judge who will deliver a verdict in the trial. “Because that young man walking down the stairs with the lady, with a young woman; his face; the expression of pain, the expression of sorrow, and he’s crying.”