Pistorius poses flight risk

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Oscar Pistorius stands in the dock during his bail hearing in Pretoria (AP) Oscar Pistorius stands in the dock during his bail hearing in Pretoria (AP)

Oscar Pistorius is a flight risk if he is granted bail over a charge that he murdered his girlfriend, prosecutors told a Pretoria court.

Paralympic sprinter Pistorius, 26, is accused of murdering 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp in a premeditated act at his home last week. He claims he shot her through a bathroom door thinking she was an intruder.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said a previous incident where Pistorius is said to have fired a gun in a restaurant, then got a friend to take the blame, suggested he was conscious of protecting himself, and said the athlete might flee the country if granted bail.

"Lots of important people have fled, are still fleeing justice. Lots of people have escaped bail," he said. "Who should tell the court what happened? The applicant, not the state. We say the court should refuse bail."

He said Pistorius' version of events was "improbable", while the state's version was based on "objective facts".

Nel asked on Thursday if the Paralympian thought that being a world-renowned athlete was an argument for exceptional circumstances and said Pistorius wanted to continue with his life "as if this incident never happened".

He said the athlete's "total lack of insight and willingness to take responsibility for his deeds" increased his risk of fleeing.

He claimed Pistorius' actions that night were indicative of a man ready and willing to fire to kill, and said: "He fired four shots, not one shot. The only reason you fire four shots is to kill. On his own version, he's bound to be convicted."

As the prosecutor continued summing up today, Pistorius stood with his head bowed, often visibly emotional in court. Mr Nel said the athlete appeared to be treating the situation as "business as usual".

He said Pistorius' claim that he thought there was an intruder in the house was part of his planning, and although Steenkamp's murder might not have been planned days in advance, it was planned that night. The prosecutor said the model locked herself in the bathroom either to escape an argument or to escape the gun.

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