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  • 11 April 2014, 16:55

Pistorius Accused Of 'Tailoring Evidence'

Oscar Pistorius has been accused of "tailoring his evidence" at his murder trial, where he denies murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel repeatedly challenged the Paralympian's "improbable" account of events while questioning him about the details of the night he shot Ms Steenkamp.

At one point the confrontation led an emotional Pistorius to admit he could be giving inconsistent answers because he was tired - prompting the judge to ask if he was able to continue with his evidence.

Pistorius told the court that his first intention when he heard a noise on February 14 was "to put myself between the intruder and Reeva" and that he reached for his gun under the bed and told Ms Steenkamp to call the police.

Mr Nel put it to him that a "reasonable person" would have done more to ensure that his partner "was okay or scared".

Pistorius said that he started screaming at the intruder to "get out of my house" and at Ms Steenkamp to call the police as he rushed down the passage to the bathroom in his home.

Mr Nel said: "The safety was off and you wanted to shoot someone. If you saw someone you were ready to shoot."

Pistorius replied: "I never wanted to shoot anyone."

The athlete said he could not explain why he had rushed toward the danger instead of taking the opportunity to escape with Ms Steenkamp through the bedroom door.

He said he kept quiet as he reached the bathroom door, telling the court: "I wanted to peer around the corner. I wasn't sure if the person was waiting for me. I was kneeling down."

He said that after hearing the toilet door slam, he was "sure" that there was an intruder in his house.

He said: "I was fighting for my life, my lady. I was not sure who was in the bathroom."

Mr Nel told Pistorius his claim that Ms Steenkamp was in the toilet but did not respond to his shouts was "the most improbable part of your story".

He said: "She was talking to you, that is why she was standing there before you shot her in the head. She was scared of you, not an intruder. She was scared of you."

Pistorius became emotional again when asked: "Did she scream while you shot her four times?"

Mr Nel said it was not possible for Pistorius to say that there had been no screaming, when he admitted he could not hear properly because of the sound of the gunshots.

Mr Nel also claimed the athlete was lying about an incident when he claims he was shot at while driving on a highway in 2008 or 2009, because he could not remember who he had called for help that night.

He said: "It is so improbable that you can not remember - the only reason you can not remember is that it didn't happen."

Mr Nel cast doubt on the defence's assertion that a number of items in the couple's bedroom must have been moved in the hours after the shooting.

Proceedings were briefly adjourned after Pistorius broke down in the witness box.

Asked why he was getting emotional, he told the prosecutor: "Because this is the night that I lost the person that I cared about. I don't understand why you can't understand it."

Pistorius was asked about security measures at his house, as the lawyer known as the "Pit Bull" sought to undermine his claims that he was concerned about crime.

Pistorius told the court he had never been a victim of crime at his Silver Woods home, apart from an occasion when he said police stole his watches.

He said security measures in the area had been upgraded several times, but he had never attended meetings of a home owners association where those issues were raised.

Mr Nel again suggested the athlete was a selfish person, raising his previous statements that Ms Steenkamp had often prayed for him and his training.

At one point, the barrister's combative approach earned him a reprimand from judge Thokozile Masipa, who warned him, "mind your language" after he called Pistorius a liar.

Mr Nel has sought to dismantle the Paralympian's heroic life story and portray him as self-centred, short-tempered, gun-obsessed and eager to shirk responsibility for his actions.

Pistorius denies premeditated murder and illegally possessing ammunition in relation to Ms Steenkamp's death.

He also denies two further counts related to shooting a gun in public in separate incidents prior to the killing.

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