Oscar Pistorius’s girlfriend told the athlete she was sometimes afraid of him and complained he had a short temper and was jealous in the weeks before he killed her, according to phone messages revealed at the Olympian’s murder trial yesterday.
Reeva Steenkamp said she was sometimes afraid of the athlete. “I’m scared of u sometimes and how u snap at me and of how u will react to me,” she texted him, in a message read out in court by police Captain Francois Moller.
In another message Ms Steenkamp, 29, wrote to Pistorius: “I can’t be attacked by outsiders for dating u AND be attacked by you, the one person I deserve protection from.”
The data on Ms Steenkamp’s phone would print to more than 35,000 pages, said Mr Moller. Of the fraction of exchanges between the couple, he said that about 90 per cent were normal and “loving” exchanges.
Ms Steenkamp goes on to talk about Pistorius snapping at her about chewing gum and talking in an accent, and then writes: “I just want to love and be loved. Be happy and make someone SO happy. Maybe we can’t do that for each other. Cos right now I know u aren’t happy and I am certainly very unhappy and sad.”
The long message was sent after the two attended a friend’s engagement party and apparently left early because she said he was upset and jealous. As Mr Moller read the message, Pistorius closed his eyes and began to sob.
The double-amputee apologised for his behaviour in replies to Ms Steenkamp’s message, according to the testimony.
Mr Moller also read messages exchanged after a shooting incident at a Tashas restaurant about a month before the fatal shooting.
Boxer Kevin Lerena and Darren Fresco testified Pistorius asked his friend Mr Fresco to take the blame for a shot that went off after the loaded gun was passed to Pistorius under the table.
In the phone message exchange, the 27-year-old runner explained to Ms Steenkamp: “Angel, please don’t say a thing to anyone ... the guys promised not to say a thing,” he wrote. She then replied: “I have no idea what you’re talking about”.
Yesterday, a neighbour of the athlete testified she heard gunshots as well as screams from both a man and a woman on the night that Pistorius fatally shot Ms Steenkamp.
Anette Stipp’s testimony matched some of the evidence given by other witnesses earlier in the trial who said they also heard a woman screaming around the time that Pistorius killed Ms Steenkamp before dawn on 14 February last year.
According to Pistorius’s version of events, he thought Ms Steenkamp was in bed when he fired his 9 mm pistol. He did not describe any woman screaming.
Ms Stipp said she heard gunshots while lying awake around 3am on the night of the shooting, and then heard the “terrified, terrified” screams of a woman.
“The screaming at that stage just continued,” said Ms Stipp, who recalled looking out from a balcony at two houses with lights on in the gated estate where her family and Pistorius lived.
She said she told her husband Johan, who previously testified, that the screaming sounded as though a “family murder” had taken place.
Judicial officials say the trial will continue until 16 May.