PRETORIA (AFP) – Oscar Pistorius’s girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp told the athlete he sometimes scared her in a text message sent less than three weeks before he shot her dead, his murder trial heard Monday.
“I’m scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me and how you react to me,” Steenkamp said via messaging service WhatsApp after the athlete apparently accused her of flirting with another man.
With the state moving to wrap up its case as the trial entered its fourth week, police cellphone expert Francois Moller read out exchanges that painted Pistorius as a critical and jealous boyfriend.
The double amputee Paralympic gold medallist wept as the messages were shared with the court.
“You do everything to throw tantrums in front of people,” Steenkamp said about being accused of flirting with a friend’s husband.
In another message, the model and law graduate pointed to being “loudly” criticised at a function she attended with the athlete.
“I can’t be attacked by outsiders for dating you and be attacked by you, the one person I deserve protection from,” she said.
Pistorius claims the couple were in a loving relationship when he mistakenly shot her dead on Valentine’s Day last year, thinking she was an intruder.
Moller told the court that 90 percent of the messages between the couple were loving, but that in a long text on January 27 Steenkamp said the athlete had been picking on her “incessantly”.
“From the outside I think it looks like we are a struggle and maybe that’s what we are. I just want to love and be loved. Be happy and make someone SO happy,” she said.
“Maybe we can’t do that for each other. Cos right now I know u aren’t happy and I am certainly very unhappy and sad.”
Steenkamp also said Pistorius would frequently talk about other women he had dated but would get upset if she mentioned an amusing story with a former long-term boyfriend.
- ‘Cold and offish’ -
Pistorius rose to worldwide fame as the “Blade Runner” for running on two carbon fibre blades, after both his legs were amputated below the knee when he was born without fibulae.
The prosecution has sought to paint the 27-year-old as rash and trigger-happy, pointing to his love of firearms and previous gun incidents to support the charge of premeditated murder.
Pistorius, who will testify in his own defence early next week, says he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he killed her by firing four shots through a locked toilet door.
The murder trial has gripped South Africa, where Pistorius is a national sporting hero.
“You make me happy 90 percent of the time and I think we are amazing together, but I’m not some other bitch not trying to kill your vibe,” said a text from Steenkamp that was read to the court.
She also described being “snapped at and get told my accents and voice is annoying” in a January 27, 2013 message.
“We are living in a double standard relationship where u can be mad about how i feel with stuff when u are very quick to act cold and offish when you’re unhappy,” Steenkamp wrote.
June Steenkamp, the model’s mother, sat in the courtroom with members of the women’s league of South Africa’s ruling ANC party.
Earlier, a neighbour testified to hearing gunshots and a woman’s petrified screams the night Steenkamp died, echoing other witness testimonies.
“It was moments after the shots I heard a lady screaming. Terrified, terrified screaming,” said Anette Stipp, one of the prosecution’s last witnesses.
“After the first set of shots there was definitely a female screaming for a period,” Stipp told the court.
“Just before the second set of shots there was a male screaming, then after the shots it went quiet.”