The murder trial of athlete Oscar Pistorius was postponed before lunch on Monday after the defence was unable to call more witnesses to the stand.
“We could not get more than two witnesses for the day,” Barry Roux SC, for Pistorius, said. Judge Thokozile Masipa adjourned the case until 9.30am on Tuesday. On Monday morning, Roux called to the stand Pistorius’s neighbours in the Silver Woods Estate, Carice Viljoen and her father Johan Stander, who went to his house shortly after he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 2013.
Earlier on Monday, the high court in Pretoria heard that Pistorius begged his dying girlfriend Steenkamp to stay with him and was praying to God to save her life,
“He was just praying to God to save her life and he was talking to Reeva begging her to please stay with him,” Viljoen said. “He said, ‘Stay with me my love, stay with me’.”
Viljoen and her father Johan Stander were the first people to arrive on the scene after Steenkamp was killed.
Pistorius called Stander at 3.18am, shortly after Steenkamp was shot.
Viljoen said she parked her car in the street and put on her hazards, and then she and Stander jumped out and went to the front door, which was slightly open.
“As I opened the door, I walked in and the first thing I saw was Oscar carrying Reeva down the stairs,” Viljoen said.
‘Take her to the hospital’
She explained that Pistorius was on the second landing of the staircase. “You could see he was walking rather fast … from the second we walked into the house he was frantic. He just wanted to get her to hospital.” She said she told him to put down Steenkamp so they could see what was wrong.
“He was begging me to put her in the car and take her to the hospital,” she said. As Viljoen broke down in tears on the witness stand, Pistorius sat with his head down covering his eyes with his left hand.
“I told him to put her down. I just saw blood everywhere. At that moment my dad stepped outside to phone the ambulance,” she recalled. “I was kneeling on the one side of Reeva and Oscar was kneeling on the other side.”
She said she realised that they needed to stop the bleeding and went upstairs to fetch towels. They held pressure to Steenkamp’s right hip.
‘His finger in her mouth’
“Most of the time he had his finger in her mouth as well trying to help her to breathe I suppose,” Viljoen said. “He asked me to keep my finger in her mouth. The whole time he kept on asking me where the ambulance was and we just tried our very best at that stage.”
Viljoen said she spoke to Pistorius and asked him what happened while they were trying to stop the bleeding.
“He just looked at me and he said, ‘I thought it was an intruder’.” She said she did not ask him more about what happened because they were trying to save Steenkamp’s life.
When the paramedics arrived, she told Pistorius to step aside so they could work on Steenkamp. “Oscar was in a state and asked the paramedics to do whatever they could to save her life.” The athlete went upstairs to fetch Steenkamp’s bag after the paramedics asked him for identification.
Viljoen said she did not go with him but when she realised that the gun was upstairs she ran after him. “I thought he was going to go and shoot himself and I shouted to him to bring the bag.”
Pistorius has pleaded not guilty and in his plea statement denied he had argued with Steenkamp shortly before the shooting. He is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public. He has also denied guilt on these charges. – Sapa