Oscar Pistorius trial: Athlete 'begged' neighbour to save Reeva Steenkamp's life

Last Updated: 05/05/14 3:43pm

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Oscar Pistorius: 'Begged' neighbour to help save Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius: 'Begged' neighbour to help save Reeva Steenkamp

Sky Bet

One of Oscar Pistorius' former neighbours has told the athlete's murder trial how he "begged" her to save his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp's life.

Carice Viljoen, who raced to the 27-year-old's home after he called her father for help, said the distressed athlete was "frantic" from the moment she stepped inside his house on Valentine's Day last year.

Pistorius - back in court after a two-week break - covered his ears with his hands as an emotional Ms Viljoen told the court: "He was saying, 'Please, please'. He was begging me to put her in the car and take her to the hospital.

"I was kneeling at Reeva's side and there was blood everywhere."

Earlier, Ms Viljoen's father, Johan Stander, who worked on the luxury estate in South Africa where Pistorius lived, recalled the desperate phone call from the sprinter in the early hours of the morning.

He told the court: "He said, 'Please, please, please come to my house, please. I shot Reeva. I thought she was an intruder. Please, please come quick.'"

He said he arrived at Pistorius' house around three minutes later to find the athlete "broken", "screaming" and carrying Ms Steenkamp's body down the stairs.

Crying

"Oscar was crying, really crying," he said. "He was in pain. He asked us to help him. He wanted us to put Reeva in a car and take her to hospital.

"We tried to calm him down. He was broken. He was screaming, crying, praying

Ms Viljoen said that after getting Pistorius to lay his girlfriend on the floor, she ran upstairs, grabbed a handful of towels and used them to try to stop the bleeding.

"Oscar was holding pressure on her hip," she said. "He had his finger in her mouth, trying to help her breathe.

"He just kept asking me, 'Where's the ambulance, where's the ambulance?'

"We tried our very best to keep her alive."

Mr Stander, who used to look after Pistorius' dogs while the athlete was competing overseas, told the court his neighbour was "committed" to saving Ms Steenkamp.

The witness, a former administrator at the Silver Woods estate in Pretoria, also said Pistorius would ask to be kept abreast of local crimes when he returned from his travels.

In one incident, he said, thieves broke through a fence and used a ladder to gain access to a house - a scenario the athlete has previously said he was concerned about.

A woman was tied up by intruders during another break-in, he added.

Pistorius' legal team are set to call ballistics, audio and psychological experts over the coming days, as the trial enters what is likely to be a crucial phase.

Sky's Special Correspondent Alex Crawford, in Pretoria, said: "The defence has to counter several prosecution claims - not least that there was a pause between shots which, crucially, would have given Ms Steenkamp time to shout out in anguish before the fatal head shot."

Pistorius admits shooting his partner but denies a charge of premeditated murder, claiming he mistook her for an intruder.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

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