First witness takes the stand in a gripping first day.
A neighbour of Oscar Pistorius testified Monday that she heard terrible screams then shots coming from the Olympian’s home on the night the sprinter’s girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was killed.
Prosecution witness Michelle Burger said she and her husband awoke and heard “blood curdling screams.”
On hearing the screams Burger said she “sat up in bed, and my husband also woke up” and went to the balcony.
“It was something you can’t explain to someone else, how anxious those screams were,” said the university economist testifying in Afrikaans.
“After a while my husband went back to the balcony, he heard the screams again, it was worse, it was more intense. It was a climax, she was very scared.”
“Just after her screams, I heard shots, four shots. Four gunshots,” she said, describing one clear shot then three more clustered together.
“Bang… bang, bang, bang.”
Pistorius on Monday pleaded not guilty to murdering the 29-year-old model, stating, via a lawyer: “we were in a loving relationship.”
The sprinter claims he heard noises coming from the bathroom and, believing Steenkamp was in bed, shot his nine millimetre pistol at the toilet door believing there was an intruder.
Burger lives 177 metres (195 feet) from Pistorius’ home in an adjacent upscale gated community. Her husband is also expected to testify.
A criminologist attending the trial, but not linked to either the defence or the prosecution, said Burger’s evidence could prove key.
“I think he’s nailed in one testimony. It’s going to be difficult for him to get out of this one,” she said asking not to be named.