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Pistorius trial – key points from day 14

Published on 24/03/2014

Oscar Pistorius's girlfriend told him he sometimes scared her, according to personal text messages revealed on the 13th day of the Paralympian's murder trial, while a neighbour testified to hearing "terrified screams" the night Reeva Steenkamp died.

Here are highlights from Monday’s proceedings:

– Police cell phone expert Francois Moller, one of the prosecution’s last witnesses, read text messages depicting a fraught relationship and Pistorius as a controlling lover.

“I’m scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me and how you react to me,” said Steenkamp in a message on January 27 last year — less than three weeks before her death.

“Why try anymore? I get snapped at and get told my accents and voices are annoying,” she continued.

The messages were sent on WhatsApp messaging service. Police seized two iPhones, two Blackberries and two iPads on the scene. Despite the emotionally charged correspondence, Moller said “ninety percent” of the chats between Pistorius and Steenkamp were loving.

– Steenkamp’s messages showed her berating Pistorius for jealousy and public criticism of her. “You do everything to throw tantrums in front of people,” she said in one message. “I’m sorry if you truly felt I was hitting on my friend Sams husband and I’m sorry that u think that little of me.”

The messages appear to undermine the sprinter’s version that the couple were in a loving relationship at the time of the 29-year-old model’s death.

– Pistorius asked Steenkamp in January 2013 to keep quiet over an incident where he fired a gun at an upmarket Johannesburg restaurant, which is another charge he is fighting in court.

“Angel please don’t say a thing to any one… I can’t afford for that to come out,” he said.

– Earlier, Anette Stipp, an occupational therapist and neighbour, testified to hearing gunshots, then a woman screaming, then gunshots early on Valentine’s Day 2013.

“It was moments after the shots I heard a lady screaming,” said Stipp, “terrified, terrified screaming.”

Stipp says she heard a man and woman screaming at the same time. Her evidence counters the defence’s assertion that neighbours mistook the athlete’s own high-pitched screams for those of a woman. The defence has argued the gunshots that killed Steenkamp came too fast for her to scream out and alert her boyfriend that it was her — and not an intruder — behind the toilet door.