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Pistorius relies on Valentine’s love

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Oscar Pistorius read a Valentine’s Day poem to the court after five days of gruelling cross-examination.

His girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp had written him a Valentine’s message that read “Roses are read, violets are blue/ I think today is a good day to tell you that I love you.”

Yesterday was the last day the cross-examination of five days of gruelling questions for the former track star.

The prosecutor ended with a stark summary of how Pistorius shot his girlfriend, insisting he killed her deliberately after an argument.

“You fired four shots through the door whilst knowing that she was standing behind the door,” said prosecutor Gerrie Nel, known as “The Pitbull” for his aggressive style of questioning.

“She was locked into the bathroom and you armed yourself with the sole purpose of shooting and killing her,” Mr Nel said.

“That is not true,” said 27-year-old Pistorius, who faces life in prison if convicted of murder.

A relieved and tearful 27-year-old Paralympic gold medallist hugged younger sister Aimee from the stand after lead prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court he had “nothing further for this witness”.

For nearly a week, Nel had spent hour after antagonising hour dragging Pistorius over the coals, accusing him of lying, tailoring evidence and even crying to avoid tough questions.

Nel began his interrogation in shocking fashion, forcing the weeping athlete to look at gruesome images of 29-year-old Steenkamp’s blood-mottled head, which, the prosecutor claimed, “exploded like a watermelon”.

Nel demanded Pistorius acknowledge he made more than a mere “mistake”, as the athlete insisted time after time as he maintained he shot the model and aspiring TV actress on Valentine’s Day after mistaking her for an intruder.

Concluding his questioning, Nel demanded to know whom to blame for Steenkamp’s death if Pistorius would not take responsibility.

“Should we blame Reeva? She never told you she was going to the toilet,” he said.

“Should we blame the government?” he asked facetiously.

Pistorius has claimed the police contaminated the crime scene, moving objects around and even stealing some of his watches.

In taking the stand Pistorius had hoped to show the court he and Steenkamp had been in a happy and loving relationship and her death was a tragic accident.

But inconsistencies in his account, sometimes evasive and antagonistic answers, and his sketchy memory of some details may have weakened his case.

The athlete blamed his legal team for inconsistencies in his accounts and appeared to change his defence midway through cross-examination, saying that he pulled the trigger “accidentally” rather than in self-defence.

Nel “managed to elicit conflicting versions from Oscar”, according to David Dadic, a South African lawyer not involved in the case.

“He definitely achieved what he set out to achieve.”

With AAP