Oscar Pistorius’ lawyer grills first state witness

2014-03-03 17:24

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Oscar Pistorius’ lawyer has begun picking at the testimony of a state witness who said she heard a woman who screamed like “her life was threatened”.

Barry Roux, Pistorius’ advocate, put it to Michelle Burger that what she had really heard was Pistorius screaming and that he sounded like a woman because he was “really, really anxious”.

Burger, who lives in an adjacent complex 170 metres from where Reeva Steenkamp was shot, earlier testified that she had awoken to a woman’s terrified screams, a man screaming for help three times, that the woman’s screams increased in anxiety and that she then heard four shots, followed by fading screams.

Burger described the screaming as “the most helpless screaming I’ve ever heard ... because of the climax in the screaming I knew something terrible was about to happen”.

But Roux put it to her that what she had actually heard was Pistorius screaming and that the shots were really the sound of the cricket bat being used by Pistorius to break down the bathroom door.

“We put it to you ... that the bashing of the door, if heard from a distance, resembles a gun shot.”

Burger remained adamant that what she had heard were shots, saying she had been to a shooting range once before.

But Roux then asked how it was possible that Burger testified she had not heard the cricket bat, but managed to differentiate between the sound of a man and a woman’s voice.

“I have absolutely no doubt that it was two different people. They did not sound the same,” said Burger.

She had earlier testified that when she heard that Pistorius had claimed he had shot Steenkamp by accident, she told her husband this couldn’t be because it was not consistent with what they had heard.

But Roux said this testimony did not make sense because Burger, on her own version, testified that she had heard a woman scream, as well as a man.

It could, therefore, not lead to a conclusion that the man was endangering the woman.

Burger, however, said this was because she had previously been convinced that what she had heard on the night Reeva was shot was a burglary.

Roux will continue his cross-examination of Burger tomorrow.

» Watch/listen to the trial live on our homepage at www.citypress.co.za. Follow Charl du Plessis and Biénne Huisman’s coverage here. And on Twitter: @City_Press

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