14 April 2014

South Africa: Pistorius Changes His Tune

Photo: Werner Beukes/Sapa
Paralympian Oscar Pistorius in court (file photo).

Pretoria — Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius on Monday denied whispering to his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to call the police.

"When you armed yourself, what did you say," prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked Pistorius in the High Court in Pretoria.

"I asked her to get down and call the police," said Pistorius.

"It was in low tone," he said.

"You said you whispered," said Nel, explaining that Pistorius said this in his evidence-in chief.

"No, I said I spoke in a low tone," Pistorius responded.

Aiming to prove his point, Nel referred Pistorius back to the court record where it showed that Pistorius said he had whispered to her.

"A whisper... You wouldn't know that she heard," said Nel.

Pistorius was adamant that he spoke in a low tone which would have been loud enough for Steenkamp to hear.

"I'm not choosing something to suit me," Pistorius said.

He continued to fix his eyes on Judge Thokozile Masipa as he spoke, at times rubbing them.

Earlier, Nel lashed out at him for doing this, asking him what was wrong.

Pistorius said his eyes were sore.

Nel sternly asked him why his eyes were suddenly sore or whether they had been this way for some time.

Masipa came to Pistorius's defence.

"I've been watching the witness for a while. He has been touching his eyes," Masipa said.

Pistorius is on trial for Steenkamp's murder.

He shot the model and law graduate through a locked toilet door on Valentine's Day last year, claiming to have mistaken her for an intruder.

The State argues it was premeditated.

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