Pistorius ‘heartbroken’ by shooting of girlfriend, says social worker

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A social worker and probation officer who visited Oscar Pistorius in a police cell the day after he shot dead Reeva Steenkamp has given evidence at the athlete’s murder trial.

The defence team called social worker Yvette van Schalkwyk to give evidence, who said she observed an emotionally devastated Pistorius last year who was grieving for his girlfriend and concerned for her parents.

“I saw a heartbroken man. He cried 80 per cent of the time. He talked to me about what they planned for the future, his future with her,” said van Schalkwyk, who told the court that she decided to give evidence at the trial because she was upset by suggestions reported in the media that Pistorius was feigning grief to sway the judge in his favour.

Gerrie Nel, the chief prosecutor, objected to van Schalkwyk’s testimony, saying it was not relevant to the charges against Pistorius, but the judge allowed her to proceed.

The prosecution maintains Pistorius killed Ms Steenkamp intentionally by shooting her through the toilet door in the early hours of February 14, 2013 after a fight.

In allowing van Schalkwyk to testify about her February 15 meeting with Pistorius, Judge Thokozile Masipa noted that Nel had asked Pistorius during the runner’s own testimony if he was trying to use his emotions to his advantage. Pistorius has cried and broken down sobbing on numerous occasions at the trial.

Nel said it was hardly surprising that Pistorius would be traumatised immediately after killing his girlfriend amid intense global interest in the case, and pushed van Schalkwyk to acknowledge that Pistorius never specifically said to her he was sorry he killed Ms Steenkamp.