UK & World News

  • 2 July 2014, 21:40

'Traumatised Pistorius At Risk Of Suicide'

Oscar Pistorius has been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and needs to continue being treated to avoid the risk of suicide, a court has heard.

The findings of a psychiatric report have been read out during the athlete's murder trial in Pretoria.

It ruled Pistorius is not mentally ill, but has been "severely traumatised" by the events of Valentine's Day last year.

Pistoriushas no history of mental instability or violence, said his defence lawyer Barry Roux, who read out sections of the report.

The athlete's relationship with Ms Steenkampwas loving and normal, he added.

Earlier, Pistorius's manager,Peetvan Zyl, was challenged by State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel over his assertion MsSteenkamp was the first girlfriend the athlete asked to accompany him on trips abroad.

An email from Pistoriusto Mr van Zyl was read out by Mr Nel, in which the athlete sent his manager a copy of ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor's passport.

Mr van Zylsaid he could not remember receiving such a message.

A letter from Pistoriusto Ms Taylor in which he asked for her to go to the 2012 Olympics in London with him was read out by Mr Nel.

It said:"That is not fair on you, you have never given me a reason not to trust you.

"When I asked you to join me, I was so excited to tell you. I had asked Peet to find you a ticket last week.

"I don't even feel like going to London if you cannot go with me."

Again, Mr van Zyl said he did not know if Pistorius asked for a ticket for the Olympics for Ms Taylor.

When asked how much he knew about Pistorius's relationships with his girlfriends, Mr van Zylsaid: "I was not part of Mr Pistorius's private life."

Sports medicine academic Professor Wayne Derman, who worked with the South African Olympic team, describedPistorius as being "hyper vigilant", scanning his environment and cowering when he heard fireworks.

He told the court the levels of stress, anxiety and depression are greater in disabled athletes, and it is possible for them to have a heightened "fight or flight" response.

The last communication ProfessorDerman had with the athlete was early in February 2013, when Pistoriustold him he was suffering from an upper-respiratory infection.

Professor Dermantold him to go to a pharmacy, and added: "I asked him how life was treating him after the competition and he responded 'he was lying next to the most amazing woman (Ms Steenkamp)'."

After a lengthy debate and a break for lunch, Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled an email from Sue Kent, a disabled massage therapist at London 2012, should not be allowed as evidence.

In the message she said it was important people realised Pistoriuswould have had a heightened "fight or flight" response before the shooting.

Pistorius denies murdering MsSteenkamp, claiming he shot her after mistaking her for an intruder.

The trial continues.