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  • 14 April 2014, 6:14

Interrogation Pokes Holes In Pistorius Defence

After a weekend of respite, Oscar Pistorius will return to the witness box on Monday to face more questions under cross-examination in his murder trial.

His account of the shooting that left his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead has already been challenged in three days of tough interrogation.

This has exposed some of the weaknesses in his defence and posed questions that could prove crucial to judge Thokozile Masipa's eventual verdict.

:: Where was Reeva?

The crucial issue of why the athlete failed to realise his girlfriend was not in the bed when he went with his gun to investigate a noise coming from the bathroom was the focus of many of prosecutor Gerrie Nel's questions.

Oscar Pistorius said he had spoken to Reeva Steenkamp in the bedroom and asked her to call the police when he heard what he thought was an intruder.

He said he was "fixated on the noise" and did not think it was strange that she had not replied.

Mr Nel insisted that it was "unreasonable" to believe that, given that Ms Steenkamp was in the toilet, she would not have shouted out to the runner who had been screaming "at intruders" just metres away.

The prosecution also pressed the athlete on whether he had heard Ms Steenkamp screaming when he fired shots into the toilet door.

The runner said he was sure she had not screamed but was forced to admit that he might not have heard her because of the sound of the shots.

:: Did he intend to shoot?

The issue of intent is vital in a murder trial and the prosecution has attempted to show Oscar Pistorius shot to kill that night - whoever he thought he was firing at.

The athlete insisted he "fired out of fear" after hearing a noise from the toilet. His said he did not have time to think and that it was "a mistake".

The prosecution repeatedly stressed that Pistorius approached the toilet with his gun held out and the safety catch off ready to shoot, even "wanting to shoot".

He knew someone might be in the small, enclosed space of the toilet, Mr Nel claimed, and the shooting was a deliberate act.

:: Why did he go towards the threat?

Another difficult moment for Oscar Pistorius came when Gerrie Nel asked him why he went towards the danger of the noise in the bathroom.

The athlete could not explain why - if he thought there was an intruder - he had not taken Reeva Steenkamp and escaped out into the safety of the rest of the house through the bedroom door.

Pistorius admitted he had to walk right past the exit from the bedroom to get to the bathroom.

"It is my personality not to run away," he insisted, while re-iterating that he wanted to protect Ms Steenkamp.

The prosecution has declared his whole defence "a lie".