News / Africa

Psychologist: Pistorius at Increasing Risk of Suicide

FILE - Oscar Pistorius leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa.
FILE - Oscar Pistorius leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa.

South African Paralympic and Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius has post-traumatic stress disorder and is at an increasing risk of suicide, according to a psychiatric report read out at his murder trial on Wednesday.

Pistorius, a double-amputee athlete, could face life in prison if he is found guilty of murdering his law graduate and model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot and killed at his high security home in Pretoria on Feb. 14 last year.

His defense team has sought throughout the trial to portray Pistorius as a vulnerable individual who killed 29-year-old Steenkamp accidentally after mistaking her for an intruder hiding behind a closed bathroom door.

“Should he not receive proper clinical care his condition is likely to worsen and increase the risk for suicide,” defense attorney Barry Roux told the Pretoria court, reading from the psychological analysis.

The report went on to say that Pistorius, known as "Blade Runner" due to the carbon-fiber prosthetics he uses in competition, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, and would require further psychological treatment.

The evidence from the clinical psychologist came on the third day of the resumption of the trial after a month-long break for Pistorius to undergo psychiatric evaluation.

The court heard on Monday that the athlete was not suffering from a mental condition when he shot Steenkamp, meaning he had the ability to distinguish between the rightful or wrongful nature of his actions.

Pistorius was once revered around the world as the ultimate example of triumph over adversity as he overcame having his lower legs amputated at birth to compete alongside able-bodied athletes at the London 2012 Olympics.

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