Oscar Pistorius Prayed Over Bloodied Girlfriend for Her Life: Witness

Oscar Pistorius Prayed Over Bloodied Girlfriend for Her Life: Witness
Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius
Gallo Images/REX USA

03/06/2014 AT 01:00 PM EST

As the girlfriend he shot lay dead or dying in his home, a weeping, praying Oscar Pistorius knelt at her side and struggled in vain to help her breathe by holding two fingers in her clenched mouth, a witness testified Thursday.

"Oscar was crying all the time," radiologist Johan Stipp said at the double-amputee athlete's murder trial in South Africa. "He was praying to God, 'Please let her live.'"

The testimony in a Pretoria court was the first detailed, public description of the immediate aftermath of the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, by the Olympian in the predawn hours of Feb. 14 – Valentine's Day – last year.

At his bail hearing last year, Pistorius said in a statement read by lawyer Barry Roux that, after he realized he had shot Steenkamp, he pulled on his prosthetic legs and tried to kick down the toilet door before finally giving up and bashing it in with a cricket bat. Inside, he said he found Steenkamp, slumped over but still alive. He said he lifted her bloodied body and carried her downstairs to seek medical help.

"It was obvious that she was mortally wounded," Stipp said as he described what he saw at Pistorius' villa. "At the bottom of the stairs ... there was a lady lying on her back on the floor."

As a radiologist, Stipp is a medical doctor with years of study, and he said he used his expertise to try to save the shot woman.

"I tried to assist her." Stipp said. "I tried to open an airway."

"She had no pulse in the neck, she had no peripheral pulse. She had no breathing movements that she made," Stipp said.



Pistorius Covered Ears in Court

Sitting on a courtroom bench, Pistorius bent forward and put his hand over his face, then moved them to cover both ears, as Stipp spoke. He stayed that way for a while, even when one of his lawyers reached back and touched him on the head.

Stipp, who said he didn't know that man was Pistorius until later, said he tried to help but Steenkamp showed no signs of life. Stipp said he noticed a wound in her right thigh, in her upper arm and in the right side of the head, and there was brain tissue around the skull.

Pistorius is charged with murder after shooting Steenkamp three times out of four shots through a toilet door in his home. Prosecutors said the athlete intentionally killed Steenkamp after an argument, but Pistorius says it was a mistake because he thought she was an intruder.

Pistorius, who ran at the 2012 Olympics on carbon fiber blades that brought him to be known as the Blade Runner, is charged with premeditated murder. The state has to prove its case against Pistorius completely to convict, while his defense can focus on casting doubt.

Three witnesses, including Stipp, have now testified to hearing a woman screaming in Pistorius' home, apparently boosting the case against Pistorius that there was a fight between the couple and Pistorius killed Steenkamp intentionally.



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