Terrible screams don’t match Oscar’s version, neighbour testifies

2014-03-03 13:40

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The first witness to testify in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius has told the court that the “terrible screams” that “left her cold” on the night of the shooting were not consistent with Pistorius mistakenly shooting his girlfriend.

Michelle Burger today told the court of the “terrible screams” she heard on the night of Reeva Steenkamp’s death, after Pistorius had pleaded not guilty to all the charges levelled against him, including murder.

“[I told my husband] it couldn’t be [that Pistorius shot Reeva mistakenly]. That’s not consistent with what we heard.”

Burger lives on an estate that borders the Silver Woods Country Estate where Oscar lived.

She said that night was “a night just like any other night”, until she started hearing the terrible screams of a woman, shortly after 3am in the morning.

She testified that her husband woke up and that she also heard a man scream for help three times.

Burger said her husband woke up and ran to their balcony while she called the security of their estate so that they could inform the neighbouring estate’s security officers.

Her husband twice explained what was happening before they realised they had called the security of their old estate – the wrong number.

Burger testified the screams then “came to a climax” and just a few seconds later she heard shots.

“[The screaming] was extremely traumatic. It left me feeling cold. You can’t convey the anxiety and the fear in those screams.”

She testified that there was a slight pause between the first shot and the three other shots.

Burger, who was still convinced that what they had heard was a house burglary, told her husband she hoped that “[screaming] woman didn’t just see her husband being shot in front of her”.

Burger said she assumed this because she only heard the man scream for help three times, never after that.

She and her husband only realised that they could be important witnesses after they heard media reports about witnesses whose homes were 600 metres away and had also heard screams.

She said their home was closer than that.

When the story about the shooting originally broke, it was reported that Pistorius had mistakenly shot Reeva.

Burger testified that she then told her husband: “This cannot be. That’s not consistent with what we heard.”

» 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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