UK & World News

  • 28 February 2014, 22:18

Pistorius At Gun Range: Exclusive Pictures

Pictures have emerged of Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius demonstrating his prowess at a gun range, months before he shot dead his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home.

The athlete will appear in court on Monday accused of her murder in a case which will make South African history as the first to be broadcast live for millions around the world to follow.

A series of still photographs show the double amputee runner firing the same silver 9mm pistol he used when he shot Ms Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

The athlete is accused of deliberately targeting his girlfriend after a jealous row. But the runner says he shot her after mistaking her for a burglar.

Pistorius is a well-known gun enthusiast. He went to gun ranges regularly and the pictures illustrate not only his familiarity with weapons but also how much of a marksman he is.

He is seen firing at a water melon which explodes as the athlete hits it right in the centre.

A voice which sounds very much like Pistorius' is heard remarking afterwards "It's not as soft as brains but f*** it is a zombie stopper", as his friends shriek in delight.

In other rare footage, the Paralympian is seen as a 17-year-old schoolboy larking around with his fellow pupils.

He had taken up running with blades a few month earlier and had gone on to compete in the 2004 Athens Paralympics, bringing back a gold medal.

But the young man with an incredible talent for running is self-effacing and sweetly innocent, thanking his "dorm buddies" for all their support.

He goes on to speculate what it would have been like to have had legs. Pistorius' legs were amputated below the knee just before he turned one, after it was discovered he had been born without a fibula in either limb.

But at 17, Pistorius says: "Everything happens for a reason. I wouldn't have taken up running if I'd had legs."

The athlete's knowledge of guns and weapons will be examined at his trial.

He says he has a strong fear of intruders after previous burglaries and "death threats" and he kept his 9mm pistol underneath his bed because of this fear - despite living on a residential estate with 24-hour security.

It was this pistol he reached for in the early hours of Valentine's Day when he says he heard a noise from the bathroom area and thought it was an intruder.

In a sworn affidavit, he said the bedroom was "pitch dark" so he failed to see his girlfriend was not in the bed.

He says he ran towards the bathroom and then fired four shots at the toilet cubicle, where unbeknown to him, his girlfriend had gone to relieve herself.

Three of the bullets hit his lover. Pistorius says she died in his arms. The prosecution says he intended to kill her after the couple had a jealous row.

In the pictures on the gun range, he is also seen shooting alongside the South African Springboks rugby star Francois Hougaard, who was romantically linked with Ms Steenkamp at the same time she was dating Pistorius.

The two men appear to be good friends, both enjoying a pastime popular with many well-to-do South Africans.

The trial is scheduled to go on for three weeks.

:: Sky News will have live coverage of the trial from Monday, with a special highlights programme at 9.30pm.

:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.

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