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    Friday, April 11, 2014

    Pistorius faces third day of cross-examination

    Oscar Pistorius is to face a third day of cross-examination at his murder trial, a day after the prosecution tried to portray him as a selfish liar.

    On Thursday, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the South African athlete had an enthusiasm for firearms.

    He also said the Olympic and Paralympic runner was contemptuous of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

    Pistorius, 27, admits killing Steenkamp but denies murder, saying he mistook her for an intruder.

    He again insisted in court in Pretoria on Thursday that the shooting on February 14 last year was a terrible accident.

    Pistorius said he had not intended to pull the trigger, even to fire at an intruder, and could not explain why he fired four shots through a toilet cubicle door.

    “I didn’t have time to think about it,” he said in a trembling voice.

    Nel, known as the “bull terrier” in South Africa for his fierce questioning, set out what the prosecution believed happened in the early hours of February 14, 2013 in Pistorius’ Pretoria home.

    He said the two had an argument in the bedroom, and Steenkamp ran screaming into the toilet.

    The chief prosecutor showed a police photograph of the bedroom, taken three hours after the shooting, which he said contradicted Pistorius’ account of where various items – including electric cooling fans and a duvet – had been placed at the time of the shooting.

    “Your version is a lie,” Nel said – something the defendant denied.

    Nel also suggested Pistorius was only concerned about himself during the couple’s three-month relationship.

    “It was all about you, Pistorius,” he said, repeatedly.

    The double amputee faces life imprisonment if convicted of murdering the 29-year-old model.

    If he is acquitted of murder, the court must consider an alternative charge of culpable homicide, for which he could receive up to 15 years in prison.

    Pistorius also faces charges of illegally firing a gun in public and of illegally possessing ammunition, both of which he denies.

    There are no juries at trials in South Africa, and his fate will ultimately be decided by the judge, assisted by two assessors

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