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Oscar Pistorius trial: Verdict in Reeva Steenkamp shooting due Thursday

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Oscar Pistorius will learn his fate in the trial over the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Thursday, 11 September. On 8 August, he tweeted a message of thanks to supporters.

He wrote: "Thank you to my loved ones and those that have been there for me, who have picked me up and helped me through everything."

pistorius 1 © Photo: Getty Images

The Paralympian also posted an inspirational passage from a writer called Danielle Koepe. It said  that "the darkest times can bring us to the brightest places" and "What seems like a curse in the moment can actually be a blessing and what seems like the end of the road is actually the discovery that we were meant to travel down a different path".

Oscar has certainly travelled a long road since the glory days of London 2012 when he was hailed as the golden boy of the Paralympian movement.

He has admitted shooting his girlfriend in the early hours of Valentine's Day, 2013, saying that he thought she was an intruder. Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa has now spent more than a month deliberating.

There are four possible verdicts open to her, the one the runner will be hoping for, of course, is not guilty.

pistorius 2 © Photo: Rex

Premeditated murderOf the three guilty verdicts, the most serious is premeditated murder.

To apply this the judge must decide that there was 'malice aforethought' that is that Oscar knew that Reeva was in there and he thought about killing her when he grabbed his gun.

This carries a life sentence and a conviction would mean the accused would not be eligible for parole before 25 years.

Screams The prosecution has said that the couple had been arguing in the hours before the shooting. Opposing counsel Gerrie Nel called neighbours who testified that they heard a woman's screams and then gunshot. Defence lawyers said what neighbours heard was in fact Oscar screaming, having realised that he had shot Reeva – and not an intruder.


When they eat

The Blade Runner has also said they went to bed early – a claim which is rejected by the prosecution, who say the couple was up arguing. Mr Nel said the contents of Reeva's stomach suggested that she had eaten just two hours before being killed. Oscar's lawyer Barry Roux said the stomach contents analysis is not an exact science.


If the sprinter is convicted of murder that means the judge has decided that he intended to kill whoever was behind the door – the supposed burglar or Reeva – but there was no malice aforethought.

If found guilty he would face 15 years in prison.

pistorius supporters © Photo: Rex

Culpable homicide

This verdict would suggest negligence and not malice, that is the judge believes Oscar when he says he was scared of an intruder and wanted to protect himself and his girlfriend.

The court heard he was terrified of crime and went into full combat mode when feeling threatened. In November 2012, he jokingly referred to these fears on Twitter, posting: "Nothing like getting home to hear the washing machine on and thinking its an intruder to go into full combat recon mode into the pantry!" This carries no minimum sentence and it is possible that in this case the defendant would escape gaol all together.

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