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Pistorius's defence to rest next week, says Roux

Sapa

Oscar Pistorius's lawyer says the athlete's defence in his trial for Reeva Steenkamp's murder could end next week.

Oscar Pistorius. (Reuters)

Murder-accused Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’s defence is expected to finalise its case in a week, the high court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

“We are well into our time frame,” Barry Roux SC, said. “[We are expecting to] end the defence’s case by next week Tuesday.”

Judge Thokozile Masipa asked Roux if he was confident.

“I hope you are quite correct,” she said.

Court adjourned on Tuesday while the defence waited for its next witness to arrive. Roux said it should be around 30 minutes.

Earlier in the day, Pistorius’s closest neighbour said he did not hear screaming the night Steenkamp was shot.

“Oscar is my neighbour. I’m the closest neighbour ... as I said I heard a man crying,” Michael Nhlengethwa said during cross-examination by prosecutor Gerrie Nel. “My Lady I heard the man that was crying, that is why I called security.”

No sounds
Nel questioned Nhlengethwa on what he and his wife heard in Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria, in the early hours of February 14 last year.

“Did you hear any sounds that could have emanated from him [Pistorius] breaking down the door?” Nel asked.

Nhlengethwa said no. He did not hear gunshots. However, he said his wife heard a bang. Nel asked if he heard a woman scream, Nhlengethwa said no.

Nhlengethwa, while being led in giving evidence by Roux, said he went to Pistorius’s house after calling security. “I saw Oscar. He was kneeling next to a lady who was just lying down there. He was just crying at that point in time.”

Pistorius sat with his head in his hands as Nhlengethwa spoke.

“I could see obviously that the situation was bad. I couldn’t take watching what I saw.”

‘She was no more’
Nhlengethwa said he saw the ambulance arrive at Pistorius’s house. “I saw the stretcher come out [of the house] at that moment my lady and I knew she was no more.”

Pistorius claims he thought his girlfriend Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her dead in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year. He has been charged with murder. The State argues he shot her through the locked door of his toilet during an argument.

Pistorius shot four times through the door, and in his version, thought an intruder was about to emerge and attack him. Steenkamp was hit in the hip, arm, and head.

Pistorius is also charged with three alleged contraventions of the Firearms Control Act – one of illegal possession of ammunition, and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. – Sapa

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