Pistorius trial - key points from day 30

12th May 2014, Comments 0 comments

Oscar Pistorius suffers from "anxiety disorder" which possibly affected his actions the night the sprinter shot dead his girlfriend, a psychiatrist testified on the 30th day of his murder trial.

Here are highlights from Monday's proceedings:

- Pistorius suffers from an "anxiety disorder" because of his physical vulnerability, according to forensic psychiatrist and defence witness Meryll Vorster. This influenced his interpretation of the situation in the early hours of Valentine's Day when he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Prosecutors have charged the Paralympian with murder, but Pistorius alleges he mistook the 29-year-old model for an intruder when he pulled the trigger.

"In my opinion Mr. Pistorius's reaction to the perceived threat during the incident of 14 February, 2013, should be considered in the light of his physical vulnerability and his diagnosis of generalised anxiety disorder," said Vorster.

- State prosecutor Gerrie Nel said he would apply for a 30-day mental evaluation of Pistorius to test Vorster's diagnosis.

"The State is bringing that application...that this court will refer Mr Pistorius for mental observation."

The formal application is expected on Tuesday.

- The 27-year-old sprinter suffered from anxiety as a child, exacerbated by the double-amputation of his legs at 11 months and his mother's fear of crime in South Africa, the psychiatrist said.

Sheila Pistorius slept with a gun and "abused alcohol intermittently".

- Pistorius's physical disability and anxiety meant he would rather attack than run away in a dangerous situation, according to Vorster.

"When exposed to a threat Mr. Pistorius is more likely to respond with a fight response rather than a flight response as his physical capacity for flight is limited," she said.

Prosecutors earlier questioned why Pistorius rushed into danger and fired his gun at a locked door thinking an intruder was inside, rather than fleeing to safety.


© 2014 AFP

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