News

Pistorius trial resumes with estate manager on stand

Pistorius trial resumes with estate manager on stand

ON TRIAL:South African Paralympic and Olympic track star Oscar Pistorius returned to court on Monday. Photo: Reuters

PRETORIA (Reuters) – South African Paralympic and Olympic track star Oscar Pistorius returned to court on Monday for the resumption of his murder trial, with the defense calling Johan Stander, the manager of his up-market Pretoria housing complex, as a witness.

Stander, who lived near Pistorius in the Silverwoods estate, was the first person on the scene after the 27-year-old shot dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in the early hours of Feb. 14 – Valentine’s Day – last year.

Taking the stand, Stander told the court that he received a phone call from a distressed Pistorius in the middle of the night, saying he had killed 29-year-old law graduate and model Steenkamp by mistake.

“Oom (Uncle) Johan, please, please come to my house. I shot Reeva. I thought she was an intruder. Please, please come quickly,” he quoted Pistorius as telling him in a phone conversation minutes after the shooting.

Stander also testified about previous break-ins at the estate but was forced to admit under cross-examination that it was “generally a safe place”.

Pistorius’ defense hinges on his assertion that he heard a noise in the middle of the night and thought it was an intruder climbing into the bathroom adjoining his bedroom.

When he heard another noise coming from the toilet he fired four shots through the door, thinking one or more intruders was behind it. Steenkamp, who was hit by at least three of the four hollow-point rounds fired, died almost instantly.

If convicted of murder, Pistorius faces life in prison.

The trial, which was adjourned on April 17 to allow prosecutors to deal with other cases on their books, has drawn huge interest both in South Africa and abroad.

Before the shooting, Pistorius, who had his lower legs amputated as a baby, was one of the most recognized names in athletics, competing against able-bodied sprinters on carbon-fibre prosthetics.

Besides a clutch of Paralympic medals, he reached the semi-finals of the 400m at the London 2012 Olympics.

(Reporting By Nomatter Ndebele; Editing by Ed Cropley)

Recent Headlines

in Local

Berkshire Gas Promotes KM Pipeline, Critiques Opponents

Fresh
pipeline

Berkshire Gas spokesman Christopher Farrell is coming out swinging for the Kinder Morgan Tennessee Gas Pipeline.

in Local

Northampton Parking Study To Be Presented

Fresh
parking

Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz will present the results of a downtown parking study Monday night

in National, Sports

Boston bomber’s lawyer urges ‘unrelenting punishment’ over death

Fresh
bostonbombing

Convicted bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's lawyers are urging jurors to reject the death penalty, saying "no punishment could ever be equal to the terrible effects of these crimes."

in National, World

PHOTOS: Nepal earthquake

Fresh
AP546135173131_11

Rescue and relief efforts are underway after a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday.

in Local

Florence Fire Caused By Smoking

Fresh
Florence fire

A fire that destroyed a Florence home was caused by the careless disposal of smoking materials.