What's Buzzing:

'I'm scared of you,' Steenkamp told Pistorius in text message

Reuters
Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius leaves after his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria
.

View gallery

Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius (L) leaves after his trial for the murder of his girlfriend …

By Vanessa Romeo

PRETORIA (Reuters) - Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, said she was scared of the South African track star in a text message sent less than three weeks before he shot her dead, a police expert told his murder trial on Monday.

The Olympic and Paralympic athlete is on trial for the murder of 29-year-old model and law graduate Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013.

He has pleaded not guilty to murder, saying he was deeply in love with Steenkamp, who he had been dating for a few months, and that he mistook her for an intruder hiding in a toilet at his luxury Pretoria home.

However, text messages between the pair in the weeks leading up to the shooting painted a picture of a volatile, stormy relationship, with Steenkamp accusing Pistorius of continual jealousy and outbursts of anger.

"I'm scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me and of how you will react to me," one message sent by Steenkamp on January 27, 2013, said.

As police expert Francois Moller read out the messages to the court on Day 14 of the trial, Pistorius sat in the dock, his head buried in his hands.

"We are living in a double standard relationship. Every five seconds I hear about how you dated another chick. You really have dated a lot of people yet you get upset if I mention one funny story with a long-term boyfriend," the Steenkamp message continued.

"You make me happy 90% of the time and I think we are amazing together but I am not some other bitch you may know trying to kill your vibe."

Moller said he had analysed thousands of mobile phone messages sent between the couple found and 90 percent of them to be normal, often loving, interactions.

However, another exchange backed up the testimony of an earlier witness who said the 27-year-old athlete fired a pistol under a table in a packed Johannesburg restaurant and then asked his friend to take the blame.

DEFENCE WITNESSES

"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. The guys promised not to say a thing," the message sent by Pistorius on January 11, the day of the incident, said.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Steenkamp replied, ending the message with a smiley face.

The court adjourned for the day before Moller concluded his evidence, leaving the gallery waiting for messages between the couple in the days and hours before the killing.

Prosecutors are seeking to prove Pistorius tried to kill Steenkamp deliberately by firing four rounds from a 9 mm pistol through a locked toilet door after a heated argument.

Throughout the trial, they have tried to portray him as a gun-obsessed hot-head, who also fired a handgun through the open sun-roof of a car after an argument with a policeman.

The state is expected to wrap up its case this week, although a slew of defence witnesses waiting in the wings suggests the trial is likely to run into May.

The delays and extra expenses have forced Pistorius to sell the luxury Pretoria home in which he killed Steenkamp so he can pay his mounting legal fees.

Pistorius' lower legs were amputated as a baby but he went on to achieve global fame as the "fastest man on no legs", running on carbon-fibre prosthetic limbs to win gold medals at the Beijing and London Paralympics.

Nicknamed the "Blade Runner", he also won a battle against athletics authorities for the right to compete against able-bodied men, becoming the first amputee runner at an Olympics when he reached the 400 metres semi-finals at London 2012.

His sporting feats and good looks made him one of the world's most marketable athletes but lucrative deals with brands such as Nike and eyeware maker Oakley were dropped when murder charges were brought against him.

(Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Ed Cropley and Alison Williams)

View Comments (91)
  • The Latest: Stosur reaches French Open quarterfinals

    The Latest: Stosur reaches French Open quarterfinals

    Samantha Stosur has reached the quarterfinals of the French Open for the fourth time. The 32-year-old Australian, a finalist at Roland Garros in 2010, beat sixth-seeded Simona Halep of Romania 7-6 (0), 6-3. Stosur, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 minutes 3 seconds ago
  • Former Flyers forward Rick MacLeish dies at 66

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Philadelphia Flyers say Rick MacLeish of the 1970s Broad Street Bullies teams has died. He was 66. … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago
  • Indy 500 Winner Rings NYSE Opening Bell

    Indy 500 Winner Rings NYSE Opening Bell

    Alexander Rossi, the winner of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. (May 31) … More »

    AP Canada Videos - 9 minutes ago
  • Stosur overpowers Halep to reach last eight in Paris

    PARIS (Reuters) - Sam Stosur powered to the French Open quarter-finals with a 7-6(0) 6-3 win against Simona Halep on Tuesday, adapting better to damp and heavy conditions than her higher-ranked Romanian opponent. In a match between two former Roland … More »

    Reuters - 15 minutes ago
  • Djokovic back on court at French Open after another delay

    Djokovic back on court at French Open after another delay

    Novak Djokovic's fourth-round match at the French Open finally got started, albeit under a light drizzle, remnants of heavier rain that wiped out an entire day of play and caused a delay of more than an hour to Tuesday's proceedings. The top-seeded … More »

    The Canadian Press - 17 minutes ago