Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
11 Sep 2014
1:17 pm

Tears, hugs and prayers as Oscar found not guilty of murder

Ilse de Lange

Oscar Pistorius sobbed openly as Judge Thokozile Masipa this morning ruled that the state had not proved that he had murdered his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's day last year.

South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius reacts in the dock during the verdict in his murder trial, Pretoria, South Africa, 11 September 2014. Pistorius awaits his verdict after standing trial from 03 March 2014 for the premeditated murder of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February 2013. EPA/KIM LUDBROOK/POOL

Oscar, his brother Carl and sister Aimee huddled together praying when the Judge took an early lunch break before announcing her finding if he should be convicted of culpable homicide.

Delivering her judgment in a packed court room, Judge Masipa said neighbours who said they had heard a woman screaming in fear had clearly made a mistake.

She accepted Pistorius’ version that there had been no argument between him and Reeva that night.

The Judge said text messages exchanged between the two and the possibility that Reeva may have eaten two hours before her death did not take the matter any further.

She accepted Pistorius’ evidence that he had fired four shots at his closed toilet door fearing an intruder was about to come out and attack him, thinking that Reeva was still in the bedroom.

Judge Masipa said the State had not proved premeditated murder, nor had it proved that Pistorius had objectively foreseen that he could kill Reeva.

She ruled that Pistorius had genuinely, though mistakenly, believed his life was in danger when he fired the shots.

The Judge did, however, describe Pistorius as a very poor witness who had contradicted himself on several aspects.

She rejected his evidence that he had never meant to fire shots at anyone, because he had armed himself with a loaded firearm, approached the danger, and fired four shots.

She said there were many questions in the trial that would forever remain unanswered and the subject of speculation.

This included why Pistorius never made sure Reeva was safe before he fired the shots, why she did not phone the police as he had screamed for her to do and why he chose to fire not one but four shots.

Judge Masipa further rejected argument by the defence that Pistorius could not be held accountable for his actions at all because of his exaggerated started response due to his disability, vulnerability and fear of crime.

Judgment will continue after 2pm.