Africa

Oscar Pistorius girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp: You scare me

  • 24 March 2014
  • From the section Africa

Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp sent him a text message saying: "I'm scared of you sometimes," his murder trial has heard.

The message was sent after the couple had a row when he accused her of flirting with another man - weeks before he shot her dead.

A police captain has been testifying about the couple's mobile phones.

Mr Pistorius denies deliberately killing his girlfriend of three months, saying he thought she was an intruder.

The trial has now entered is fourth week, with the prosecution expected to wrap up its case before Friday.

Oscar Pistorius murder trial mobile phone messages

  • "I was not flirting with anyone today I feel sick that you suggested that" (Reeva Steenkamp, 27 January 2013)
  • "I'm scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me and how you will react to me" (Reeva Steenkamp, 27 January)
  • "I do everything to make you happy and to not say anything to rock the boat with you" (Reeva Steenkamp, 27 January)
  • "I cant be attacked by outsiders for dating you and be attacked by you - the one person I deserve protection from" (Reeva Steenkamp, 8 February)
  • The court heard the couple called each other "Angel" and "Baba"
  • "Angel please don't say a thing to anyone…Darren told everyone it was his fault. I can't afford for that to come out" (Oscar Pistorius, 11 January 2013 following alleged shooting incident)

Capt Francois Moller said he had been able to extract some 35,000 pages' worth of messages from Ms Steenkamp's phone.

He told the court on Monday that 90% of the messages between the couple were loving, but he had picked out exceptions.

'Jealous and possessive'

Mr Pistorius has said he has forgotten the password to his iPhone and investigators went to the US shortly before the trial began to meet Apple officials to try and gain access to it.

In one message sent on 27 January 2013, Ms Steenkamp wrote: "I'm scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me and of how you react to me."

Reeva Steenkamp's mother, June Steenkamp, has been in court to hear the prosecution's evidence
There is intense media interest in the case due to Mr Pistorius' status as a sporting hero in South Africa

The couple had attended a friend's engagement dinner and left abruptly.

In another message written a week before her death, she said: "I can't be attacked by outsiders for dating you and be attacked by you - the one person I deserve protection from."

The BBC's Andrew Harding in Pretoria says some of the messages read in court could be extremely damaging for Mr Pistorius, who has spoken of the couple being in a loving relationship.

Ms Steenkamp's messages paint a picture of the athlete as a jealous and possessive boyfriend prone to anger, our correspondent adds.

The texts between the couple also suggest Mr Pistorius asked Ms Steenkamp to keep quiet over an incident in January 2013 where he allegedly fired a gun at a restaurant - another charge he denies.

"Angel please don't say a thing to any one... I can't afford for that to come out," he wrote.

'A woman screaming'

Earlier, one of Mr Pistorius' neighbours said she had heard both a man and woman scream on Valentine's Day 2013.

Anette Stipp, whose husband gave evidence earlier in the trial, said she heard the screams and gunshots at around 0300 local time on the day of the shooting.

She said she heard two groups of gunshots with a woman screaming in between.

Her testimony has closely matched that of other neighbours and witnesses, including her husband.

The defence has previously claimed that Mr Pistorius screams like a woman and that neighbours had confused his screams with those of Ms Steenkamp.

"It was a definitely a woman screaming," said Mrs Stipp.

She also said that the light was on in the bathroom cubicle, where Ms Steenkamp was when she was shot.

This contradicts evidence given by Mr Pistorius, who said that it was "pitch dark" where the shooting took place.

Trial extended

On Sunday the trial was extended and will now run until the middle of May. It had been due to end this week.

The prosecution says it will call upon four more witnesses before closing its case.

A long message from Reeva Steenkamp to Oscar Pistorius was read out in court

The defence team, led by Barry Roux, will then call upon its own witnesses, including Mr Pistorius himself.

Last week the trial heard evidence from ballistics experts and computer forensic teams who described the sequence and timing of the shots that killed Ms Steenkamp.

Mr Pistorius is a double amputee who holds six Paralympic medals and competed in the 2012 Olympic Games.

The prosecution accuses him of intentionally shooting Ms Steenkamp - a model, reality TV celebrity and law graduate - after an argument.

But the athlete maintains he believed his girlfriend was in bed and that an intruder had entered the bathroom when he shot at the toilet door in the early hours of 14 February 2013.

There are no juries at trials in South Africa, and his fate will ultimately be decided by the judge, assisted by two assessors.

If found guilty, the 27-year-old - dubbed the "blade runner" because of the prosthetic limbs he wore to race - could face life imprisonment.

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