PRETORIA: Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial resumed yesterday with a neighbour and friend giving a heart-wrenching account of finding the “broken” athlete coming down the stairs, holding his dead girlfriend in his arms.
After a two-week break in the trial, the defence called Johan Stander, the first man to arrive at the crime scene after the Paralympic gold medallist shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year.
“Oom (Afrikaans for uncle) Johan, please, please, please come to my house, I shot Reeva,” Stander says Pistorius told him over the phone. When he arrived at Pistorius’s upmarket Pretoria home, Stander described seeing the athlete carrying Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, down the stairs.
“He was screaming, he was crying, he was praying,” said Stander, a man with grey hair and glasses who spoke in a hoarse voice. “The expression on his face, an expression of sorrow, an expression of pain, he’s crying, he’s praying,” said Stander. “It was as if he was torn apart.”
Stander, who said he considered himself a friend of the 27-year-old Pistorius, said the night was not something he would want to experience again. Pistorius was “broken, desperate, pleading,” said Stander. “How he begged God to keep her alive.” “I saw the truth that morning, I saw it and I feel it,” he said.
Pistorius’s lawyers will spend at least the next two weeks trying to firm up the athlete’s account of the killing and counter the state’s claim he shot his girlfriend after an argument. AFP