Oscar Pistorius trial: Witness says she first heard screams then shots

Michell Burger, who lives about 180 metres (196 yards) from Pistorius' house, said the screams woke her in the pre-dawn hours of February 14 last year, when Oscar Pistorius killed Reeva Steenkamp by shooting four times through a toilet door.

updated: March 04, 2014 13:40 IST
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Pretoria: The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius opened Monday in South Africa with testimony from a neighbor who described the sound of what she said were four gunshots and recalled the "blood-curdling screams" of a woman who prosecutors say was the girlfriend slain by the onetime star athlete in his home. "It's the most helpless feeling I've ever had in my life," university lecturer Michelle Burger said of listening to the screams. "I knew something terrible was happening in that house." (Pistorius pleads not guilty)

The 27-year-old double-amputee runner, whose stature peaked at the 2012 London Olympics and then plummeted when he shot model and television personality Reeva Steenkamp in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day last year, stood in the dock in a dark gray suit and black tie, writing in a pad and sometimes passing notes to defense lawyers. At one point, he smiled at a person sitting behind him. Steenkamp's mother, June, sat near Pistorius but there was no communication between them. (Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner's life on the edge)

The proceedings were broadcast on television, though Burger was not shown at her own request, and millions of people around the world followed a trial where the heady mix of a celebrity defendant and shocking allegations has drawn comparisons to the O.J. Simpson case two decades ago.

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