herald

Monday 23 October 2017

'Oscar suicidal and suffering from post traumatic stress' stress and is

OSCAR Pistorius is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after shooting his girlfriend dead and is at risk of committing suicide, his trial has heard.

The chief prosecutor in the case had previously said a panel of mental health experts concluded that the former Paralympian was not suffering from a mental illness at the time of the shooting last year.

His trial, in Pretoria, was put on hold for a month while a psychologist and three psychiatrists assessed whether the runner was capable of understanding the wrongfulness of the act.

Pistorius shot Reeva Steenkamp dead through a closed bathroom door in February 2013.

The findings of a psychiatric assessment concluded the 27-year-old athlete is not mentally ill but has been "severely traumatised" by the events on Valentine's Day and needs continued treatment to avoid the risk of suicide.

Barry Roux, his defence lawyer, claimed the relationship between Pistorius and Ms Steenkamp was a loving one and said his client has no history of mental instability or violence.

The state prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, alleges that Pistorius killed his girlfriend after an argument and has portrayed the Olympic athlete as a hothead with a love of guns and an inflated sense of entitlement.

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He requested the independent inquiry into the defendant's state of mind, based on concerns the defence would argue Pistorius was not guilty because of diminished responsiblity.

Pistorius's manager, Peet van Zyl, was challenged by Mr Nel over his claim that Ms Steenkamp was the first girlfriend invited asked to accompany the gold medallist on his trips abroad.

An email from Pistorius to Mr Van Zyl was read out by Mr Nel, where the athlete sent his manager a copy of ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor's passport.

Oscar Pistorius posing next to his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, 2013 Oscar Pistorius with his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Mr Van Zyl said he could not remember receiving such a message.

A letter from Pistorius to Ms Taylor asking her to go to the 2012 London Olympics with him was read out to the court by Mr Nel.

"I don't even feel like going to London if you cannot go with me," it said. "It took me a long time to admit it to myself that I was in love with you Sam."

hnews@herald.ie

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