Oscar could face month of mental tests

2014-05-12 15:55
(Alon Skuy, AP)

(Alon Skuy, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - Prosecutors will apply to have Oscar Pistorius committed for one month of mental evaluations after a psychiatrist on Monday told his murder trial the Paralympian suffered from an "anxiety disorder".

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued the sprinter should go to a facility for 30 days to test a defence psychiatrist's claim that the condition may have had an impact on his state of mind before he shot and killed his girlfriend, allegedly believing she was an intruder.

"Then I'll bring the application," he said, after a heated to-and-fro with defence lawyer Barry Roux and defence witness Meryll Vorster.

Opening the eighth and perhaps final week of evidence, Roux called the forensic psychiatrist to testify about the 27-year-old's feelings of vulnerability.

"It is my opinion, My Lady, that Mr Pistorius has an anxiety disorder," said Vorster, recounting stressful factors in the Paralympic gold medallist's life.

"If he was afraid that there was an intruder, then certainly having a generalised anxiety disorder would have affected the way he reacted to that fear," she added.

The court adjourned early for the prosecution to study the psychiatric report, before more questioning on Tuesday and the formal application for tests.

During two months of trial, the defence has sought to portray the world-famous athlete as almost manically obsessed with safety after a difficult childhood and in the face of high crime levels in South Africa.

The star sprinter claims he mistakenly shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a locked toilet door, believing she was an intruder in his upmarket Pretoria home.

'Threatening environment'

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to intentionally killing Steenkamp, as well as three other firearms charges.

If found guilty of premeditated murder, Pistorius faces 25 years in jails and an abrupt end to his once glittering sporting career.

Vorster, who also interviewed Pistorius's close family and friends to compile her report, said the athlete's disorder began when his parents encouraged the double-amputee to be normal.

"Over time this could result in anxiety," she said.

The Pistorius children were not "soothed" by their mother, Sheila, who slept with a firearm under her pillow and "abused alcohol intermittently”, continued the psychiatrist.

"The children were reared to see their external environment as threatening," said Vorster, who said Pistorius's mother "added" to her children's anxiety.

As the psychiatrist was giving her testimony, Pistorius appeared to become emotional, his face turning red. His sister Aimee sat stone-still, staring into the distance.

When Pistorius's mother died when he was a teen, the star sprinter lost his only adult role model, said the psychiatrist. His parents were divorced at the time.

At age 21, a rising athletic star and financially independent Pistorius "broke all ties with his father", she said. Soon after, he bought a gun.

"Individuals with an anxiety disorder work hard to control their environment," said Vorster, wearing black-framed glasses and a black blazer, "in a way, his strict training regime and his diet helped him to alleviate his levels of anxiety."

Read more on:    gerrie nel  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  barry roux  |  johannesburg  |  crime  |  pistorius trial
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
85 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.