News / Africa

Witness: Pistorius Asked Friend to 'Take Blame' for Restaurant Gunshot

Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock in court on the third day of his trial at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, March 5, 2014.Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock in court on the third day of his trial at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, March 5, 2014.
x
Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock in court on the third day of his trial at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, March 5, 2014.
Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock in court on the third day of his trial at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, March 5, 2014.
Reuters
“Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius asked a friend to take the blame for him accidentally discharging a pistol under the table of a posh Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013, a month before he killed his girlfriend, his murder trial heard on Wednesday.
 
Testifying for the prosecution against the South African Olympic and Paralympic track star, professional boxer Kevin Lerena described how he, Pistorius and two others had been having dinner at Tashas restaurant when the gun went off.
 
Lerena said one of the group, Darren Fresco, passed his pistol under the table to Pistorius, telling him there was “one up” - an indication that a round was loaded in the chamber.
 
“A shot went off. Then there was just complete silence,” Lerena said. “I looked down at the floor and exactly where I looked down, where my foot was, there was a hole in the floor.”
 
“I had a little graze on my toe, but I wasn't hurt,” Lerena added.
 
Pistorius immediately apologized to his fellow diners and checked they had not been hurt, but then turned to Fresco and asked him to take responsibility, Lerena said, testifying on the third day of Pistorius' murder trial in Pretoria.
 
“'Please take the blame for me - there's too much media hype around me,'” Lerena quoted Pistorius as saying. “When the restaurant owners came up, Darren took the blame.”
 
Lerena, who goes by the ring name of “KO Kid,” was giving evidence in relation to a lesser charge brought against Pistorius of discharging a weapon in a public place.
 
The main charge is that he murdered his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day 2013 by shooting her through a locked toilet door. Pistorius has pleaded not guilty, saying it was a tragic error and he mistook her for an intruder.
 
The prosecution has sought to portray the 27-year-old running star, who had his disabled lower legs amputated as a baby and uses carbon fibre prosthetic “blades” to run, as a gun-obsessed hot-head.
 
Pistorius has also pleaded not guilty to the Tashas gun offense charge, and to a similar charge of putting a bullet through the sun roof of a former girlfriend's car in a separate incident.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs