Oscar Pistorius’ despicable defence in murder trial as he vomited at graphic testimony

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It's been over seven years since Oscar Pistorius ruthlessly shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day.

The South African Paralympic sprinter, now 33, was caged in 2014 but was only charged with culpable homicide, meaning that Reeva "was killed unintentionally, but unlawfully," according to the judge.

Pistorius fatally shot the 29-year-old paralegal and model in the bathroom of his home in Pretoria, South Africa, in the middle of the night.

The cold blood murder was just less than a year after he had been lauded with praise after competing at both the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Initially, the athlete claimed he had woken up and thought his girlfriend was an intruder hiding in the bathroom in the middle of the night.

But not everyone was convinced by Pistorius' story.

A new documentary, The Trials of Oscar Pistorius, looks at the case that shocked the world, left a young woman in the prime of her life brutally killed and a sports hero disgraced.

The South African Paralympic sprinter, now 33, was caged in 2014 for the brutal killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
(Image: Getty Images Europe)

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High profile court case

Back in March 2014, Pistorius took to the dock on the opening day of one of the most high profile trials of modern times.

Media from around the world descended on the courtroom, as the judge decided that parts of the trial could be broadcast live on television.

Pistorius demonstrated his lack of stability and mobility on his stumps as the defence once again tried to highlight his feeling of vulnerability.

He appeared to walk in an unstable manner in a desperate bid to showcase how much the ordeal had affected him.

Pistorius told the court through his lawyer that he thought Reeva had been in bed when he shot four times through the toilet door, acting in self-defence.

The court was told the Paralympian thought his life was in danger at the time of the killing, however the judge wasn't convinced his life was in jeopardy.

In September 2014, Judge Masipa reached her long-awaited verdict, and shocked the globe when she dismissed the prosecution case that Pistorius murdered his girlfriend.

Model Reeva was shot in cold blood by Pistorius in the middle of the night
(Image: AFP/Getty Images)

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Instead, she found him guilty of culpable homicide – a charge similar to manslaughter.

She sent Pistorius to prison for five years in October 2014 – despite the prosecution arguing he should be locked up for ten years.

And when he heard the graphic details of the injuries sustained by Reeva, Pistorius vomited in the dock.

The double-amputee runner, hunched over on a bench, couldn't help but throw up on the floor when he heard the description of Reeva's horrific wounds.

Pistorius' reaction saw the judge continue with proceedings, and ordered for a bucket to be placed by the athlete.

What's more, the Paralympian's story of what the pair were up to on the night he killed Reeva didn't match up to what forensic scientists discovered.

It was estimated by experts that the food in her stomach was consumed no more than two hours before she was killed, but Pistorius' version claims the couple had eaten early and were in bed by 10pm. Reeva was shot just after 3am.

Pistorius demonstrated his lack of stability and mobility on his stumps as the defence once again tried to highlight his feeling of vulnerability
(Image: REUTERS)

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Appeals for harsher sentence

He was originally arrested and charged with Reeva's murder but at his trial the following year, he was instead found guilty of culpable homicide and jailed for five years.

Despite that, the athlete was able to make parole in just one year.

After he was released in October 2015, he was supposed to serve his remaining four years under house arrest at his uncle's home in Pretoria, South Africa.

But just two months later, the prosecution won a South African supreme court appeal to change his conviction from culpable homicide to murder.

The athlete weeped at the graphic testimony in the courtroom
(Image: AFP)

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The prosecution argued that Pistorius had to have known that firing into his small bathroom four times would kill whoever was in there.

It was then when Pistorius was re-sentenced to six years in prison in July 2016.

A further appeal by the South African state saw his sentence again reviewed and lengthened to 15 years, meaning he still had 13 years and five months — the minimum 15 years minus the time he'd already served.

But when it came to the court trials for each of these sentences, Pistorius ensured he had stellar legal representation that would get him the lowest possible sentence, and they delivered.

Initially, Pistorius claimed to have thought Reeva was an intruder in his lavish home
(Image: AFP)

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Prison conditions

Pistorius has been sentenced to serve out his prison term at South Africa's low security Atteridgeville Correctional Facility, where the former athlete enjoys several special privileges, it has been reported.

Pistorius has his own private cell, which comes with an ensuite bathroom and a place where he can grown his own vegetables, according to Daily Mail.

The murder was just less than a year after he had been lauded with praise after competing at both the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
(Image: PA)

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His current jail is in stark contrast to the maximum security Kgosi Mampuru II, where he served his initial sentence.

The maximum security prison saw Pistorius housed in the hospital wing.

He was said to be in constant fear for his life and convinced someone was going to poison his food.

Pistorius will become one of its longest serving prisoners when he is released, which may not be until 2030.

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