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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid