Pistorius trial focuses on his mental state

Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial debated his mental state as the athlete faced a possible stint in a psychiatric hospital to establish if he has a “general anxiety disorder.”

Under cross-examination on Tuesday, defence psychiatrist Meryll Vorster told the court that Pistorius’s anxiety would have given him a heightened fear of crime. During two months of trial, Pistorius’ lawyers have sought to portray the world-famous athlete as almost manically obsessed with safety after a difficult childhood and in the face of high crime levels in South Africa.

The defence wants to show that contributed to Pistorius’s reaction when on Valentine’s Day last year he allegedly believed his girlfriend to be an intruder and shot her dead through a locked toilet door.

Vorster testified that Pistorius had a “general anxiety disorder” that had an impact on his personal and sexual relationships. “Did he function socially, yes, one would say he did,” she said, “but not optimally.”

He took on new friends “in order perhaps to avoid being lonely,” said Vorster, “he was simply in their company as to not feel alone.” Earlier in the trial, Pistorius’ former friend Darren Fresco and ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor testified for the state, saying the 27-year-old runner shot a gun out of a moving car’s sunroof.

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