10 April 2014

South Africa: Pistorius Faces Second Day of Cross-Examination in Murder Trial

South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius has again taken the stand to testify in his own defense at his murder trial. Pistorius has admitted shooting his girlfriend dead, but has said it was an accident.

The Paralympic and Olympic sprinter faced a second day of cross-examination by the chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel on Thursday, in a trial that has drawn widespread international media attention.

Nel began Thursday's proceedings by accusing Pistorius of being selfish in his relationship with 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp, the girlfriend he has admitted to having shot dead.

The chief prosecutor also accused Pistorius of being insincere in a courtroom apology to Steenkamp's family.

"Your life is just about you," Nel said.

Graphic photos

During Wednesday's proceedings, the 27-year-old Pistorius appeared distraught, as he refused to look at a graphic photo of Steenkamp's dead body shortly after she had been killed in February of last year. The double leg amputee told the chief prosecutor that there was nothing for anyone to gain by him viewing the image.

"I've taken responsibility... but I will not look at a picture where I am tormented by what I saw and felt that night... I remember," he said. "I don't have to look at a picture, I was there."

Row took place, says prosecution

The prosecution has accused Pistorius of deliberately shooting his girlfriend to death through a bathroom door at his Pretoria home after the couple had had a row.

While admitting having pulled the trigger, the defendant has argued that killing did not amount to murder, as he opened fire on what he thought was an intruder.

If convicted on the charge of premeditated murder, Pistorius, who was dubbed the "Blade Runner" due to the style of the prosthetic lower legs that he wore to compete in track competitions, could face life imprisonment.

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