Trial Resumes With Estate Manager On Stand
Send a link to a friend
[May 05, 2014]
PRETORIA (Reuters) - South African Paralympic and Olympic track
star Oscar Pistorius returned to court on Monday for the resumption of
his murder trial, with the defense calling Johan Stander, the manager of
his up-market Pretoria housing complex, as a witness.
Stander, who lived near Pistorius in the Silverwoods estate, was
the first person on the scene after the 27-year-old shot dead his
girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in the early hours of Feb. 14 -
Valentine's Day - last year.
Taking the stand, Stander told the court that he received a phone
call from a distressed Pistorius in the middle of the night, saying
he had killed 29-year-old law graduate and model Steenkamp by
"Oom (Uncle) Johan, please, please come to my house. I shot Reeva. I
thought she was an intruder. Please, please come quickly," he quoted
Pistorius as telling him in a phone conversation minutes after the
Stander also testified about previous break-ins at the estate but
was forced to admit under cross-examination that it was "generally a
Pistorius' defense hinges on his assertion that he heard a noise in
the middle of the night and thought it was an intruder climbing into
the bathroom adjoining his bedroom.
When he heard another noise coming from the toilet he fired four
shots through the door, thinking one or more intruders was behind
it. Steenkamp, who was hit by at least three of the four
hollow-point rounds fired, died almost instantly.
If convicted of murder, Pistorius faces life in prison.
[to top of second column]
The trial, which was adjourned on April 17 to allow prosecutors to
deal with other cases on their books, has drawn huge interest both
in South Africa and abroad.
Before the shooting, Pistorius, who had his lower legs amputated as
a baby, was one of the most recognized names in athletics, competing
against able-bodied sprinters on carbon-fibre prosthetics.
Besides a clutch of Paralympic medals, he reached the semi-finals of
the 400m at the London 2012 Olympics.
(Reporting By Nomatter Ndebele; Editing by Ed Cropley)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.