Pistorius Trial: Opening Witness Attests to “Traumatic” Evening of “Screams” and “Shots”

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A neighbour of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has told a court in Pretoria that she was awoken by a woman’s “blood-curdling screams” on the night Miss Reeva Steenkamp died.

The 27-year-old Paralympic champion has pleaded not guilty to all the charges at the start of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Steenkamp.

Pistorius shot his 29-year-old model and reality TV star girlfriend at the early hours of February 14, 2013, at his Pretoria home. State prosecutors allege the killing was premeditated, after a couple had a row, but he claims he mistook her for an intruder.

The neighbour, Michelle Burger,- the first witness in the trial- told the high court in the capital city: “It was very traumatic for me. You could hear blood curdling screams.

She said she called security and then heard four gun shots: an initial shot, then a pause, then three more shots in succession.

“She (Steenkamp) screamed terribly and she yelled for help,” Burger continued.

“Then I also heard a man screaming for help. Three times he yelled for help.”

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It is the first time in South Africa that parts of a trial are being televised live, amid intense media interest.

Pistorius, who became the first disabled athlete to compete in an Olympics event in 2012, won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic.

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