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Witness describes ‘bloodcurdling screams’ as Pistorius' murder trial begins

The murder “trial of the century” officially got underway on March 3 in Pretoria, South Africa when former Olympic and Paralympic star and double amputee, Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius, entered a packed courtroom in the pre-meditated murder trial of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on March 3, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on March 3, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
The Telegraph (video screenshot)
The first witness said that she heard a female’s “bloodcurdling screams" followed by the sound of gunfire.
Herman Verwey/Foto24Gallo Images/Getty Images

Steenkamp was shot to death in Pistorius’ home on Valentine's Day, 2013, according to Reuters.

As expected, Pistorius pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.

He also pleaded not guilty to several other firearms charges, including one of discharging a pistol under the table of a swanky Johannesburg restaurant and another of putting a bullet through the sun-roof of a former girlfriend's car.

Prosecutors in the case will attempt to prove that Pistorius deliberately killed Steenkamp when he fired four shots through the bathroom door in his home, killing Steenkamp.

Steenkamp was hit three times, in the head, arm and hip. She was declared dead at the scene.

Pistorius had previously testified that he thought Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her, and that her death was a tragic accident.

Witnesses are already taking the stand. The first witness called today, a neighbor, said that she could hear a female’s “bloodcurdling screams" followed by the sound of gunfire ringing out.

A neighbor, Michelle Burger, who testified that she was awoken in the middle of the night by the sounds of a woman screaming for help, said "I was still sitting in the bed and I heard her screams."

"She screamed terribly and she yelled for help. Then I also heard a man screaming for help. Three times he yelled for help," she said.

Burger also testified that she thought the screams and gunfire were the result of a break-in at one of the neighboring estates. Burger’s husband called the private security firm responsible for guarding the homes in the area.

Then, Burger and her husband heard even more screams for help.

"I heard the screams again. It was worse. It was more intense," Burger told the court, her voice cracking with emotion. "She was very scared."

"Just after her screams, I heard four shots. Four gun-shots," she said. "Bang ... bang, bang, bang."

"It was very traumatic for me. You could hear that it was bloodcurdling screams."

Throughout her testimony, the 27-year-old Pistorius sat impassively, staring at the floor.

The Pistorius murder trial is being broadcast live on television. You can see the live telecast along with regular updates, here.

If convicted and found guilty of Steenkamp's murder, Pistorius could be sentenced to life in prison.

Also see:

Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial to begin and to be partly broadcast live

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