Oscar Pistorius: I was more into Reeva Steenkamp than she was me

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Pretoria, South Africa (CNN) — Oscar Pistorius told the court at his trial Tuesday that he was “more into” the girlfriend he’s accused of murdering, Reeva Steenkamp, than she was into him.

In his second day of testimony the double-amputee runner known as the Blade Runner delved deeper into his relationship with the girlfriend he shot dead more than a year ago — and he is expected to explain what happened the night she died.

“If anything I was more into her at times than she was with me … I was besotted with her,” he told the court in Pretoria, South Africa.

Pistorius has cried, covered his face and plugged his ears, and thrown up repeatedly as earlier witnesses have talked about how Steenkamp suffered, so the moment when Pistorius is forced to discuss the killing himself could be dramatic.

Steenkamp’s mother, June, was again present in court Tuesday but betrayed no reaction as she listened to hear his testimony.

The couple met on November 4, 2012, Pistorius said, a little more than three months before she died.

Defense lawyer Barry Roux took Pistorius through some of the texts and chat messages exchanged between the couple, as he sought to show that theirs was a loving relationship.

Some of the messages, including ones in which Steenkamp voiced unhappiness about Pistorius’ actions, formed part of the prosecution case heard last month. The prosecution contends that Pistorius, 27, intentionally shot Steenkamp, 29, after an argument early on February 14.

In one lengthy WhatsApp message previously cited in court, Steenkamp said,”I’m scared of you sometimes and how u snap at me and of how you will react to me.”

Pistorius sought to explain the background to the message Tuesday, saying it was sent on the day of their friend Darren Fresco’s engagement party.

“It was a bad day in our relationship,” he said. “I think I was just being sensitive, maybe I felt a bit insecure or jealous … I wasn’t kind to her like I should have been.”

Pet names and kisses

He sounded emotional as he read another upset message from Steenkamp, in which she said, “I can’t be attacked by outsiders and be attacked by you as well, the one person I deserve protection from.”

The message, sent on February 7, a week before Pistorius killed her, referred to an evening out after which they argued. He said that Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, had received hate mail for dating him.

But in other, affectionate messages read out in court the pair used pet names like “baba” and “angel,” said they missed each other and exchanged many “x”s, or kisses.

In one such message, Steenkamp told Pistorius, “Baby I love spending time with you and sleeping next to you.”

He replied, “I love having you sleeping next to me baba.”

He also described how on one occasion when Steenkamp came to his house, he sprinkled roses on the floor and had chocolates and a heart on his bed to welcome her.

The messages show that Steenkamp slept at Pistorius’ house on February 12, 2013. She spent the next day — the day before her death — at his house doing laundry, while he had a meeting with his financial adviser and a physical therapy appointment.

He asked her to stay that night too.

Gun charges

Roux, for the defense, asked Pistorius about the three weapons charges he faces, separately to the murder charge.

One count concerns an occasion when it’s alleged that Pistorius shot a gun through the open sunroof of a car after it was stopped by police for speeding.

His friend Fresco, who was driving the car, and ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor, who was also present, have previously testified about it.

Pistorius told the court he always had his firearm on him. He said a policeman who asked whose firearm was in the car was aggressive with him and that he himself was angry that the police officer had handled his weapon.

But he denied firing the gun through the sunroof after the stop.

Pistorius says the only gun paperwork he filed was in October, not September when this alleged incident happened. Fresco and Taylor said that after the sunroof incident they went to someone’s house so Pistorius could file gun-related paperwork.

Asked about another count relating to an occasion when he fired a gun under the table in a restaurant, Pistorius said he had asked Fresco if he could see the firearm.

Pistorius said he wanted to double check that the gun wasn’t loaded. As he checked the chamber, a round came out of the breach and discharged, he told the court.

“I was overcome with fear that someone may have been hurt. I couldn’t really believe what had happened. I was quite angry initially that Mr. Fesco had handed me an unsafe firearm,” he said.

Pistorius said he was also partly to blame for asking for the gun.

Pistorius: ‘She felt loved’

When he first took the stand Monday, Pistorius began with an emotional apology to Steenkamp’s family, saying he woke up thinking of them and praying for them every day.

“I can’t imagine the pain and the sorrow and the emptiness that I have caused you and your family. … I can promise you that when she went to bed that night, she felt loved,” he said, his voice breaking as if he was fighting back tears.

Pistorius, who says he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder in his house in the dark, testified that he has been suffering nightmares since the killing and wakes up smelling blood.

He told the Pretoria court that he is afraid to sleep, and “if I hear noise, I wake up just in a complete state of terror.” He said he is on medication, including an antidepressant and sleeping pills.

It was the first time he has spoken in public about Steenkamp’s death, which he says was an accident. He pleaded not guilty to murder when the high-profile trial opened early last month.

June Steenkamp sat stony-faced as South Africa’s onetime Olympic golden boy choked out his statement.

Pistorius admits that he killed Steenkamp, firing four shots through a closed door in his house in the early hours of February 14, 2013. Three hit her, with the last one probably killing her almost instantly, according to the pathologist who performed the autopsy.

But Pistorius says he thought she was a nighttime intruder in his pitch-black house and believed he was firing in self-defense.

The defense team will call 14 to 17 witnesses, Roux said as he opened his case. The trial is scheduled to continue until the middle of May.

Masipa will decide the verdict in collaboration with two experts called assessors. South Africa does not have jury trials.

 

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