Pistorius of sound mind when he killed Reeva, experts find

Frank Dalleres
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PARALYMPIC superstar Oscar Pistorius was not suffering from mental illness and was therefore criminally responsible when he shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a court heard yesterday.

Pistorius’s trial resumed yesterday in South Africa following a month-long assessment by doctors. That was prompted by the defence team’s claim that Pistorius had an anxiety disorder that may have affected his judgment on the night of the killing last year.

“Mr Pistorius did not suffer from a mental illness or defect that would have rendered him criminally not responsible for the offence charged,” prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the Pretoria court where Pistorius remains on trial three months after proceedings started. The 27-year-old double amputee does not deny shooting model and law graduate Steenkamp through a toilet door at his home during the early hours of Valentine’s Day last year, but says he did so having mistaken her for an intruder.

If found guilty of murder the man known as Blade Runner for his distinctive carbon fibre prosthetics faces life imprisonment. A lesser charge of culpable homicide carries a 15-year sentence.

The court also heard from the doctor who amputated both of Pistorius’s legs below the knee when he was 11 months old.

Pistorius was on his stumps when he shot Steenkamp, and Dr Gerald Versfled said that such a scenario left the athlete “vulnerable in a dangerous situation”.