Pistorius murder trial resumes
Oscar Pistorius' defence team will sum up its case this morning as the murder trial of the Paralympian reaches its closing stages.
On Thursday prosecutor Gerrie Nel branded Pistorius "deceitful" and insisted the Paralympian cannot avoid a conviction for murdering his girlfriend, as the state closed its case against him in South Africa.
Nel said that even if the court accepts Pistorius's claim he killed Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year believing she was an intruder, "he cannot escape" a conviction for murdering with intent.
Ending the first of two days of concluding arguments in the five-month murder trial, Nel said Pistorius's efforts to concoct an alibi had led to a "snowball effect" of lies requiring more lies to back them up.
"In an attempt to tailor his version to support his plea explanation, he tangled himself in a web," said Nel.
In a meticulous review of evidence presented by almost 40 witnesses, Nel said Pistorius, 27, was guilty of "a baker's dozen" of misleading statements.
He also pointed to state experts' testimony that Steenkamp had food in her stomach when she died and that neighbours heard a woman screaming to show the star sprinter was lying.
But, he said, even if Judge Thokozile Masipa believes Pistorius's claim that he accidentally shot at an intruder, he must be found guilty.
"We argue that even in the event of the court accepting the accused's evidence that he thought there was an intruder in the toilet, he cannot escape a conviction on murder with dolus directus (direct intent)," said Nel.
"Our argument is that the accused be convicted for murder."
Pistorius has denied the charge during the trial in which he has at times sat weeping and vomiting in the dock as details of Steenkamp's death were presented.
His legal team - led by top defence lawyer Barry Roux - has sought to convince Masipa that Pistorius shot his girlfriend by accident, believing her to be an intruder.
The defence has sought to portray him as a "highly-vulnerable individual" obsessed with safety - a result of a difficult childhood and his disability - in a country with a high crime rate.
During the trial Pistorius underwent psychiatric evaluation and an ensuing report said he was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, but was not suffering any mental illness that could prevent him being held criminally responsible for his actions.
The athlete appeared at Pretoria High Court for the start of closing arguments wearing glasses and a dark suit, clenching his jaw as Nel accused him of concocting an alibi to avoid justice.
"It is the state's case the accused was a deceitful witness," said Nel, describing Pistorius's testimony as "absolutely devoid of any truth".
He said there were "glaring contradictions" in the Paralympic gold medallist's story.
Initially, Pistorius said he shot Steenkamp through a toilet door in his upmarket Pretoria home, believing her to be an intruder.
However, under intense cross-examination, he said he accidentally shot his girlfriend as a result of deep-seated anxiety caused by his disability and did not mean to kill anyone.
Nel also said Pistorius had anxiety "on call", suggesting the runner manufactured a fear of crime to suit his version.
Pistorius faces a minimum of 25 years in jail if he is convicted of premeditated murder. He also faces three separate gun-related charges.
Even if he is not found guilty of premeditated murder, Pistorius could still be convicted and jailed on alternative charges of murder or culpable homicide.
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