Oscar Trial 3.3.2014 01:40 pm

Oscar’s neighbour takes the stand as State’s first witness

Oscar Pistorius's lawyer Barry Roux, speaks at the start of his trial at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, March 3, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (Themba Hadebe, POOL)

Oscar Pistorius's lawyer Barry Roux, speaks at the start of his trial at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, March 3, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentines Day in 2013. (Themba Hadebe, POOL)

The State’s first witness has taken the stand in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial which has grabbed global attention during its first day of proceedings.

Michelle Burger, appeared anxious when she first took her seat in the witness box in the High Court in Pretoria. The University of Pretoria construction and economics lecturer Michelle Burger lives in the Silver Stream estate, on the border of the Silver Woods estate, where Pistorius had his home.
Speaking through an Afrikaans translator the woman described the “blood curdling” screams coming from Pistorius’s home at 3am on February 14, when model Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead. Pistorius has claimed to have mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder.
“She screamed terribly and called for help. Then I heard a man calling for help three times,” Burger said.

After Burger’s husband called security, she heard a woman scream again.

“The screams were more intense. It was like a climax,” Burger said. “The fear in her voice was horrific.”

Burger and her husband called security and asked someone to investigate the screams.

Then she heard four gunshots.

“Bang, bang… bang bang,” she described to the court during questioning by prosecutor Gerrie Nel.
That morning Burger said she went to work normally and only found out later that Pistorius had shot his girlfriend.

“It was very traumatic for me… You can’t translate into words the anxiety in her voice,” she said of the screams she heard.

“I thought it was a housebreaking. We thought someone was attacked.”

Pistorius, dressed in a black suit, sat alone in the dock during her testimony.

In an affidavit read out by Oscar Pistorious’s defense, he has denied that he intentionally killed Steenkamp. He further denied that he had an argument with her on the night of the alleged murder.

The defence team said that the State has no evidence that Pistorious and Steenkamp fought on Valentines Day.

“There was no argument… It cannot be further from the truth,” according to a statement read out by Pistorius’s attorney Kenny Oldwage.

He denied that it was a fight that led to Pistorious shooting Steenkamp, and that he thought it was an intruder in the bathroom when he shot through the door.

Asked by the judge if he understood the charges against him, Pistorius said: “”I do my lady… not guilty my lady.”

He believed his life was in danger and he had to protect himself and Reeva. Pistorious’s affidavit also argued that the crime scene was contaminated and tampered with.

Pistorious has pleaded not guilty to all four charges brought against him; murder, contravening the firearms act which included the possession of ammunition without a licence.

 

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