Violence in Reeva's death 'horrific'

2013-02-22 11:34
Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp pictured at the 2012 Feather Awards.

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp pictured at the 2012 Feather Awards. (Lucky Nxumalo, AFP)

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Pretoria - The degree of violence in the death of Oscar Pistorius's girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was "horrific", prosecutor Gerrie Nel said at the athlete's bail application on Friday.

"We say that the degree of violence present in this case is horrific," Nel said in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court as he opposed the granting of bail for Pistorius.

Pistorius is charged with the murder of Steenkamp after she was shot dead in a toilet in his home. He has not pleaded but said in an affidavit he thought there was an intruder in the house when he fired into the toilet cubicle.

Violence against women

Nel said that the court should not do "lip service" to reduce crime against women.

"Even the president said in his State of the Nation address we should prioritise violence against women," said Nel.

He mentioned the recent gang rape and murder of Western Cape teenager Anene Booysen. This was in response to Magistrate Desmond Nair asking Nel to give evidence on violence.

Nel said the court must know how many cases of murdered women were on its roll.

Being in the toilet cubicle must have been "horrific... having four shots fired in," said Nel, as Pistorius cried while he spoke.

Nel said there was a lot of interest in the case, with Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana also attending the hearing.

"He has been protected too much. Now there is a person dead."

Nel was referring to friends covering up for Pistorius after he had threatened someone.

Emotional state

Earlier, Nel turned to Pistorius's emotional state as the athlete started crying again in court.

Nel said crying was expected, as Pistorius's sister Aimee shook her head and put her hand to her mouth.

"It is a possibility that after shooting someone, one starts to feel sorry for themselves," said Nel.

"That I am going to spend days in court, am going to jail and my career is gone.

"We say that is spontaneous defence."

He said that might have been part of his planning - either by the defence, or pre- or post murder.

Magistrate Desmond Nair stepped in and questioned Nel's line of argument.

Pre-meditated

"If it's pre-meditated, could the plan have included moving the furniture in the house [to make it look like a real burglary]," asked Nair.

He wanted to know why Pistorius did not break a window to prove a burglar or remove the dogs.

"I'm not saying the murder of Reeva Steenkamp was planned weeks or days ahead. We say it was planned on the night," said Nel.

"I don't have evidence he planned it [the murder] two or three days before the shooting," said Nel, with Pistorius's family visibly upset.

Earlier, he said that it could not be a coincidence that witnesses said they heard a woman's screams before Steenkamp was shot dead.

"Are they lying? Why would independent people lie?" he asked.

- See News24's Pistorius Special Report.

- SAPA
Read more on:    gerrie nel  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  domestic violence
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