Prosecutor tells Pistorius: 'Your version is a lie'

Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:36pm EDT
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By Ed Cropley

PRETORIA (Reuters) - A South African prosecutor accused Oscar Pistorius on Thursday of lying and altering his story when the Olympic and Paralympic athlete described the night he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

The double amputee sprinter, once revered across the world for his triumph over physical adversity, faces life in prison if convicted in the Pretoria High Court of the murder of Steenkamp, a 29-year-old law graduate and model.

Pistorius, known as 'Blade Runner' due to the prosthetics he wears on the track, says he shot Steenkamp in a tragic accident, firing at what he thought was an intruder hiding behind a toilet door in his luxury Pretoria home on February 14 last year.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, whose reputation as one of South Africa's toughest attorneys has earned him the nickname 'The Pitbull', cross-examined Pistorius while looking through photographs of the couple's bedroom taken after the shooting.

In a period of fierce questioning, Nel pointed out a series of objects in one picture which ran counter to Pistorius' account of events. In response, the sprinter accused the police of tampering with the scene but Nel ridiculed this suggestion.

"Let's sum up: A policeman moved the two fans, put the duvet on the floor, opened the curtains wider than they should be before the photographs were taken," Nel said.

"Your version is so improbable that nobody would ever think it's reasonably possibly true ... Your version is a lie."

Pistorius says after he shot Steenkamp, he ran out onto the balcony and screamed for help. However, in a picture shown to the court, a duvet and a large stand-up electrical fan clearly block his route to the balcony door.   Continued...

Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius (C) arrives ahead of his trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria April 9, 2014. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko