Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius begged his dying girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to stay with him and was praying to God to save her life, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday (05/05/2014).
“He was just praying to God to save her life and he was talking to Reeva begging her to please stay with him,” neighbour Carice Viljoen said.
“He said, ‘stay with me my love, stay with me’.
Viljoen and her father Johan Stander were the first people who arrived on the scene after Steenkamp was shot dead by Pistorius in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year.
The paralympian, who says he mistook her for an intruder, has been charged with murdering Steenkamp.
He called Stander at 3.18am shortly after Steenkamp was shot. The Standers and Pistorius both lived in the Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria.
She said she parked her car in the street and put on her hazards and she and Stander jumped out and went to the front door that was slightly open.
“As I opened the door, I walked in and the first thing I saw was Oscar carrying Reeva down the stairs,” she said.
She explained that Pistorius was on the second landing of the staircase.
“You could see he was walking rather fast… from the second we walked into the house he was frantic. He just wanted to get her to hospital.”
She said she told him to put down Steenkamp so they could see what was wrong.
“He was begging me to put her in the car and take her to the hospital,” she said in tears.
As Viljoen broke down in tears, Pistorius sat with his head down covering his eyes with his left hand.
Barry Roux, SC, for Pistorius, advised Viljoen to take time to compose herself.
Pistorius has pleaded not guilty and in his plea statement denied he had argued with her shortly before the shooting.
Viljoen said Pistorius kept asking her to take Steenkamp to hospital and told her to take his car.
“I told him to put her down. I just saw blood everywhere. At that moment my dad stepped outside to phone the ambulance,” she recalled.
“I was kneeling on the one side of Reeva and Oscar was kneeling on the other side. He was begging for us to take her to the hospital.”
She said she realised that they needed to stop the bleeding and went upstairs to fetch towels.
They held pressure to Steenkamp’s right hip.
“Most of the time he had his finger in her mouth as well trying to help her to breathe I suppose,” Viljoen said.
“He asked me to keep my finger in her mouth. The whole time he kept on asking me where the ambulance was and we just tried our very best at that stage.”
Viljoen said she spoke to Pistorius and asked him what happened while they were trying to stop the bleeding.
“He just looked at me and he said, ‘I thought it was an intruder’.”
She said she did not ask him more about what happened because they were trying to save Steenkamp’s life.
When the paramedics arrived, she told Pistorius to step aside so they could work on Steenkamp.
“Oscar was in a state and asked the paramedics to do whatever they could to save her life.”
The athlete went upstairs to fetch Steenkamp’s bag after the paramedics asked him for identification.
Viljoen said she did not go with him but when she realised that the gun was upstairs she ran after him.
“I thought he was going to go and shoot himself and I shouted to him to bring the bag.”
Pistorius has pleaded not guilty. The State argues he shot her during an argument.
Earlier in the morning the previous witness, and father of Carice Viljoen, was questioned after interpreting a call from the athlete, shortly after his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead, as a mistake.
“When he phoned me he said I made a mistake,” Johan Stander said under cross-examination from prosecutor Gerrie Nel.
Nel replied: “No he never said that. Why did you want to include that he made a mistake?”
“It was a mistake that I made,” Stander replied, playing with his water bottle.
“Why would you make such a mistake? Do you want to assist Mr Pistorius with his defence?” Nel continued.
Stander replied: “My lady I am here to give the truth. In my mind that was a mistake. He never said it was a mistake. That was my understanding.”
Stander explained that he interpreted the phone call he received from Pistorius on Valentine’s Day last year as a mistake. He said as far as he understood Pistorius did not want to shoot an intruder.
The paralympian called Stander at 3.18am on Valentine’s Day last year, shortly after Steenkamp was shot. The Standers and Pistorius both lived in the Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria.
Earlier Stander told the court that when Pistorius called him he said: “Oom (uncle) Johan please, please, please come to my house. I shot Reeva, I thought she was an intruder.
“Please, please, please come quick.”
During cross-examination, Nel asked Stander what he thought the mistake was.
“The fact that he shot her? Mr Stander, how can you out of that call say the fact that he shot her was a mistake? Why do you now want to tell the court that he made a mistake by shooting?”
Stander replied: “I’m looking at that telephone call. I can interpret it by saying he made a mistake. He said he thought she was an intruder.”
Pistorius is charged with murdering Steenkamp. He shot her through the locked toilet door of his home on February 14 last year.
Earlier Stander had testified that Pistorius was “broken” shortly after his he had shot Steenkamp. “We tried to calm Mr Pistorius down. He was broken,” Stander said to questioning by Kenny Oldwadge, for Pistorius.
“He was screaming, he was crying, he was praying. He was torn apart, broken, desperate.”
Stander said when he got out of bed his daughter came out of her room and said she just heard someone scream. His wife told her that Pistorius called and said “he shot Reeva”.
The trial was adjourned until Tuesday (06/05/2014) – Sapa