The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

February 19, 2013

Pistorius says no intentions to kill girlfriend

(Continued)

"She couldn't go anywhere. You can run nowhere," prosecutor Nel argued. "It must have been horrific."

Pistorius sobbed softly as his lawyer, Barry Roux, insisted the shooting was an accident and that there was no evidence to substantiate a murder charge.

"Was it to kill her, or was it to get her out?" he asked about the broken-down door. "We submit it is not even murder. There is no concession this is a murder."

He said the state had provided no evidence that the couple quarreled nor offered a motive.

Nel rebutted: "The motive is 'I want to kill.'"

There were affadavits from friends of Pistorius and Steenkamp read out by defense lawyer Roux in the bail hearing.

The statements described a charming, happy couple. The night before the killing, they said, Pistorius and Steenkamp had canceled separate plans to spend the night before Valentine's Day together at his home.

As details emerged at the dramatic court hearing in the capital, Steenkamp's body was being cremated Tuesday at a memorial service in the south-coast port city of Port Elizabeth. The family said members had arrived from around the world. Six pallbearers carried her coffin, draped with a white cloth and covered in white flowers, into the church for the private service.

June Steenkamp, the mother, said the family wants answers.

"Why? Why my little girl? Why did this happen? Why did he do this?" she said in an interview published Monday in The Times newspaper.

Outside the court, several dozen singing women protested against domestic violence and waved placards urging Pistorius be refused bail. "Pistorius must rot in jail," one placard said.

South Africa has some of the world's worst rates of violence against females and the highest rate in the world of women killed by an intimate partner, according to a study by the Medical Research Council. Another council study estimates a child or woman is raped every four minutes. While homicide rates have dropped, the number of women killed by current or former partners has increased, said the council's Professor Rachel Jewkes. At least three women are killed by a partner every day in the country of 50 million, she said.

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