Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pistorius neighbor recounts hearing 'bloodcurdling screams'

PRETORIA, South Africa — The murder trial of South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius began dramatically in Pretoria's High Court on Monday, with a neighbor testifying that she heard "bloodcurdling screams" on the night his girlfriend was killed.

Michelle Burger, who lives close to Pistorius, told the court that she was awakened by the sound of a woman screaming in the early hours of Valentine's Day morning last year. She said that she sat up in bed and that her husband woke up and went out onto their balcony to listen.

"It was a very traumatic thing. We could hear very close, bloodcurdling screams," she testified.

Pistorius, who in 2012 won acclaim for becoming the first amputee athlete to compete in the Olympics, pleaded not guilty to the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

South Africa does not have a jury system, and the trial is being heard by a judge. Pistorius admits that he shot Steenkamp through a toilet door at his apartment, but he says he believed she was an intruder.

Burger testified that when she heard the screams, she assumed that intruders were attacking a couple. She said she told her husband to phone the apartment complex's guards. Shortly afterward, the woman's screams grew louder, she said.

"She was very scared. The screams were at a climax," Burger testified.

She said she then heard four gunshots. "Bang … bang-bang … bang," she said, describing a pause between the first shot, followed by two shots close together, then a small pause followed by a fourth shot.

In cross-examination, defense attorney Barry Roux suggested that the shots were fired while Burger was still asleep and the bangs she described were the sounds of Pistorius bashing down the toilet door with a cricket bat after shooting Steenkamp.

Burger replied: "I've got no doubt I heard gunshots. I did not hear a cricket bat hitting a door."

Pistorius neighbor recounts hearing 'bloodcurdling screams' 03/03/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 12:36am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. How to make a Strawberry Banana Smoothie

    Cooking

    Don't enjoy breakfast but need to get something in your stomach? Cranky around 3 p.m. and need a jolt of energy? Have trouble getting your daily recommended fruit servings? This smoothie is the cure for all of that and more. It's become my morning go-to. The secret ingredient here is kefir, a probiotic product that's …

    Strawberry Banana Smoothie. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  2. How to tell if the price is right on your next prescription

    Medicine

    Filling a prescription is no longer the simple errand you run after a doctor visit.

    Photo illustration. [iStockphoto.com]
  3. Rubio to Seminole County GOP: 'America is going to be okay'

    Blogs

    Sen. Marco Rubio delivered a reshaped stump speech Tuesday night to the Seminole County GOP, touching on many of the same points he made as a presidential candidate but adapting it to the tumultuous politics of the moment.

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami.
  4. Dad's app freezes your child's phone until your texts are answered

    Human Interest

    Parents of teens know how vital cell phones can be when they need to reach their kids — especially during an emergency.

    Nick Herbert, who lives in the United Kingdom, grew tired of his teenage son ignoring his texts, so he made an app to fix the problem. ReplyASAP takes over the phone's screen, overrides any silent functions and sets off an alarm, essentially forcing teens to respond to their parents in order to regain access to their phones. [Screengrab from website]
  5. Related Group breaks ground on complex at old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Miami-based Related Group has broken ground on a 400-unit apartment complex planned on the site of the former Tampa Tribune building in downtown Tampa.

    From left, Related Group executive associate Arturo Penaa, Jorge Perez, center, founder and CEO of the Related Group, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Steve Patterson, the President of Related Development dig their shovels  during the groundbreaking ceremony of the 400 unit Riverwalk Manor apartment complex on site of the old Tampa Tribune building on Wednesday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]