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Pistorius said he shot girlfriend to death by mistake

Updated: 2013-02-20 11:01
( Agencies)

"An angel"

Nearly 1,000 km (600 miles) away, on South Africa's windswept southern coast, scores of mourners gathered under cloudy skies in the city of Port Elizabeth for Steenkamp's funeral.

Amid the grief, there was little sympathy for Pistorius, who at the time was weeping on a wooden bench in the spartan, brick-face courtroom in the capital.

"She was an angel. She was so soft, so innocent. Such a lovely person. It's just sad that this could happen to somebody so good," said Gavin Venter, an ex-jockey who worked for Steenkamp's father.

"I'm disgusted with what he did. He must be dealt with harshly," he added, shortly before Steenkamp's cremation in the Victoria Park Crematorium. "Without a doubt he's a danger to the public. He'll be a danger to witnesses. He must stay in jail."

Pistorius said he shot girlfriend to death by mistake

Women protest outside the Pretoria Magistrates court, during the bail application hearing of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, Feb 19, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

The case has drawn further attention to endemic violence against women in South Africa after the gang-rape, mutilation and murder of a 17-year-old near Cape Town this month.

Members of the Women's League of the ruling African National Congress protested outside the Pretoria court, waving placards saying: "No Bail for Pistorius" and "Rot in jail".

Before Pistorius's testimony, Nel, the lead prosecutor at the bail hearing, painted a picture of premeditated killing, which carries a life sentence in South Africa.

"If I arm myself, walk a distance and murder a person, that is premeditated," he told the packed courtroom, arguing that Pistorius had time to think about what he was doing. "The door is closed. There is no doubt. I walk seven meters and I kill."

"The motive is 'I want to kill'. That's it," he added. "This deceased was in a 1.4 by 1.14 meter little room. She could go nowhere. It must have been horrific."

Pistorius said he shot girlfriend to death by mistake

South African "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius (R) smiles with his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg, Nov 4, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

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