Oscar Pistorius murder case: Olympian gives his account of an accidental shooting

Michael Steele

Oscar Pistorius provided his first full account of how he claims he mistakenly shot and killed his girlfriend.

Oscar Pistorius and his attorney provided an account of the evening he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in a South African court on Tuesday. The Olympian maintained that the shooting was an accident and that he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder.

Pistorius, who was sobbing in the courtroom, had his attorney read the narration of how the shooting unfolded. He had been keeping a 9 MM handgun under his bed on the evening of the shooting. Pistorius then awoke in the middle of the night to retrieve a fan from his balcony when he heard what he thought was an intruder in his bathroom. Pistorius claims that he thought Steenkamp was still in bed and that a home invader had likely used nearby ladders to come through an opened bathroom window. That prompted him to shout at whoever was in the bathroom (via David Blair of The Telegraph)

"I screamed words to the effect of for him/her to get out of my house and for Reeva to phone the police," said Pistorius in his statement. "I thought Reeva was in the bed. I felt extremely vulnerable but I knew I had to protect Reeva and myself."

Pistorius, who went to the balcony without his prosthetic legs, indicated he then fired four shots through the bathroom door. In his account, he claimed he was sure it was an invader he had just fired at but quickly realized his mistake when he returned to the bedroom and saw Steenkamp was not in bed.

Pistorious then went back to the bathroom and found his wounded girlfriend and immediately called an ambulance. But he said Steenkamp "died in my arms" before it got there. There had been reports of domestic strife, but Pistorius maintained on Tuesday that the couple was "deeply in love."

The account differs considerably from what prosecutors allege happened. The prosecution claims the shooting was not accidental, and will go forward with a premeditated murder charge, according to Blair of The Telegraph. With the differing accounts now on the table, the Pretoria court will decide whether to grant Pistorius bail.

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