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New evidence in Pistorius murder trial as neighbour said he found Paralympic star praying over body of dead girlfriend

Posted: March 6, 2014
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A dramatic 4th day of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial in Pretoria saw the embattled Blade Runner breaking down in tears and new evidence being presented by a neighbour of Pistorius who testified he found the South African Paralympic star praying over the body of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp as she lay dying.

In the trial's first account of the moments after the shooting, Johan Stipp said he tried to revive Ms Steenkamp.

During Dr Stipp's testimony, Mr Pistorius cried and seemed to retch.

The double amputee denies intentionally killing her, saying he mistook the 29-year-old model for an intruder.

If found guilty, the 27-year-old could face life imprisonment.

Dr Stipp said he could see Ms Steenkamp's brain tissue in her hair.

At this point, a police officer passed a plastic bag to Mr Pistorius.

Recalling the night of 14 February 2013, Dr Stipp said he had heard gunshots.

He said he had found Mr Pistorius kneeling by her body.

"I shot her," the Paralympic star told him. "I thought she was a burglar."

"Oscar was crying all the time,'' Dr Stipp said. "He was praying to God [saying] `Please let her live.'"

Pistorius said he would dedicate "his life and her life to God" if she lived, according to the testimony.

Dr Stipp said Mr Pistorius had been in an emotional state. Fearing he might hurt himself, he had asked where the gun was.

The trial has been adjourned until Friday.

Earlier, defence lawyer Barry Roux said that two neighbours, Michell Burger and Charl Johnson, had discussed their testimony with each other and amended the rough notes they had made a few days after the shooting.

"Your interpretation [of events] is designed to incriminate the accused and it's unfortunate," Mr Roux said.

Mr Johnson denied this. He insisted that he had heard a woman screaming "help", followed by a man doing the same.

The arrest of a national sporting hero, who won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and also competed at the Olympics, astounded South Africa.

Much of the case will depend on ballistic evidence from the scene of the shooting, correspondents say.

The state is seeking to convince the court that Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp had an argument before the athlete fired the shots that killed his girlfriend.

BBC

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