In court yesterday, prosecutor Gerrie Nel accused Oscar Pistorius of using his frequent emotional breakdowns to evade questioning over the death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
After Pistorius began crying yesterday when retelling his account of the night of the shooting, Nel said he could not see how the process was causing the runner to become emotional.
“You’re not using your emotional state as an escape are you?” Nel asked with raised eyebrows.
Oscar Pistorius has repeatedly broken down, sometimes vomiting, during his 22-day murder trial.
During his cross-examination yesterday, Nel asked Pistorius to explain, in detail, the events immediately preceding the fatal shooting of Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day last year.
The prosecutor, known as “the pit bull” for his ferocious cross-examination technique, accused the runner of “tailoring” his evidence after Pistorius altered his account several times.
Nel particularly focussed on Pistorius’ account of how he warned Steenkamp to “Stay down and call the police” when he heard suspected intruders in the house.
Last week, Pistorius told the court he had whispered the warning to Steenkamp as he got out of bed to investigate, but during yesterday’s testimony revealed that he also began shouting the warning as he moved towards the bathroom.
When asked what he was yelling at the intruders to “chase” them from his home, Pistorius tearfully told the court, “Get the f— out of my house,” before losing composure.
After a court adjournment for Pistorius to collect himself, Nel returned in full force, asking the runner,
“Why did you get emotional? Isn’t it exactly because that’s what you shouted at Reeva: ‘Get the f— out of my house’? That’s what you said, that’s why you got emotional, isn’t it?”
Pistorius explained to the judge that he felt “traumatised” by the event and the process of remembering the words that “I felt on the night.”
Pistorius has maintained his innocence throughout the trial, which is ongoing, and also has some staunch supporters. After leaving court yesterday, the Paralympic runner signed autographs for his supporters, writing “Thank you for your love and kindness.”
— Alex Crawford (@AlexCrawfordSky) April 14, 2014