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Pistorius says he shot girlfriend to death by mistake

Updated: 2013-02-20 11:01
( Agencies)

PRETORIA - "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius put on his artificial legs and walked across his bedroom before firing four shots through a locked toilet door, killing his cowering girlfriend in cold blood, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Pistorius says he shot girlfriend to death by mistake

Model Reeva Steenkamp is seen here in this undated handout picture released by Capacity Relations, Feb 14, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

Reeva Steenkamp, a 30-year-old law graduate and model, died after being hit by three rounds from a 9-mm pistol, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said.

Pistorius, 26, wept uncontrollably in court as Nel outlined details of a shooting that has stunned South Africa and the millions around the world who saw the double amputee's track glory as an inspiring tale of triumph over adversity.

Later, in a dramatic affidavit read out by defence lawyer Barry Roux, Pistorius said he had been "deeply in love" with Steenkamp, whom he had been dating since November, and had no intention of killing her.

Having had previous death threats and break-ins, Pistorius said he slept with a 9-mm pistol under his bed in his plush Pretoria home in the heart of a well-secured gated community.

He and Steenkamp went to sleep on Wednesday night - the eve of Valentine's Day - some time after 10 pm, he said.

However, in the middle of the night, he awoke in pitch darkness and thought an intruder had climbed through a window and entered the toilet, Pistorius said.

Without putting on his prosthetic legs - contrary to the prosecution's version of events - he moved on his stumps into the bathroom adjoining his bedroom and noticed the closed toilet door. He did not realize Steenkamp was behind it, he said.

He shouted for the intruder to get out of his house then fired several shots into the door, before calling to Steenkamp to phone the police.

When she did not respond, he grabbed a cricket bat to beat down the door and found her slumped on the floor, he said.

"I was absolutely mortified by the events and the devastating loss of my beloved Reeva," he said in the affidavit.

As Roux read the statement, Pistorius sobbed unrestrainedly, prompting magistrate Desmond Nair to halt proceedings for several minutes. "You need to concentrate on what's going on," Nair told him.

The bail hearing was adjourned until 0700 GMT on Wednesday.

Pistorius says he shot girlfriend to death by mistake

"Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius awaits the start of court proceedings in the Pretoria Magistrates court, Feb 19, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

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Pistorius shot girlfriend through door - prosecutor

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Woman found dead at Pistorius home - S.Africa police

'Blade Runner' back in court for bail hearing

'Blade Runner' on murder charge

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