Psychiatrist: Pistorius has 'anxiety disorder' - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Psychiatrist: Pistorius has 'anxiety disorder'

Posted: Updated:
Oscar Pistorius sits in court for his ongoing murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, May 12, 2014. Oscar Pistorius sits in court for his ongoing murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, May 12, 2014.

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — The chief prosecutor in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius said Monday that the double-amputee athlete should be placed under psychiatric observation after an expert called by the defense said Pistorius has an anxiety disorder.

Judge Thokozile Masipa has not yet ruled on the request. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said he had no other option but to ask for a study of Pistorius' mental health following testimony by a psychiatrist, who said the Olympic runner's anxiety could have shaped the way he responded to perceived threats.

Pistorius has said he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by mistake last year, fearing that there was an intruder in his home when he fired through a closed toilet door in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013. The prosecution says he killed her intentionally after an argument.

Psychiatrist Dr. Merryll Vorster said events during Pistorius' life, including the amputation of his lower legs as a baby and his late mother's habit of sleeping with a gun under her pillow, contributed to his "increasing stress."

"Overall, Mr. Pistorius appears to be a mistrustful and guarded person," Vorster testified.

She said the Olympic athlete displayed "escalating levels of anxiety" through his life when she interviewed him this month. Vorster said she also spoke to members of Pistorius' family, some of his friends and his agent.

Pistorius' defense said at the outset of its case that it would show his feelings of "vulnerability" and his disability contributed to him shooting Steenkamp. Pistorius is charged with premeditated murder and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

Vorster's testimony also dealt with what she said was Pistorius' fear of crime and how, because he was a double amputee, he reacted to perceived threats in a different way to other people. She noted Pistorius' mother, who died when he was a teenager, slept with a gun in her bed and also had a fear of being attacked in her home.

Cross-examining Vorster at the start of the eighth week of the trial, prosecutor Nel asked if she was saying Pistorius had a mental illness and should undergo a 30-day period of observation, and if he was changing his defense to one of "diminished responsibility."

Nel also asked the psychiatrist if someone who was suffering from an anxiety order of the kind that she had diagnosed in Pistorius, and also had access to guns, would be a danger to society. Vorster said the person would, indeed, be a danger.

Talking specifically about the shooting of Steenkamp, Vorster said Pistorius was more likely to try and "fight" what he thought was an intruder than run away, because his disability meant it was harder for him to flee. Pistorius was on his stumps when he fired four times through the toilet stall door with his licensed 9 mm pistol, killing Steenkamp.

___

Imray reported from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • SportsMore>>

  • Lawsuit, ex-student focus on complaints about Ohio State doc

    Lawsuit, ex-student focus on complaints about Ohio State doc

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 10:08 AM EDT2018-07-17 14:08:30 GMT
    Wednesday, July 18 2018 3:58 AM EDT2018-07-18 07:58:56 GMT
    (Ohio State University via AP, File). FILE - This undated file photo shows a photo of Dr. Richard Strauss. Former Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee and former vice president of human resources Linda Tom tell The Columbus Dispatch they don't remember r...(Ohio State University via AP, File). FILE - This undated file photo shows a photo of Dr. Richard Strauss. Former Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee and former vice president of human resources Linda Tom tell The Columbus Dispatch they don't remember r...
    A lawsuit by four former Ohio State University wrestlers alleges the school failed to stop "rampant sexual misconduct" by a now-dead team doctor despite being "repeatedly informed" about his behavior. 
    A lawsuit by four former Ohio State University wrestlers alleges the school failed to stop "rampant sexual misconduct" by a now-dead team doctor despite being "repeatedly informed" about his behavior. 
  • Woods says British Open becomes best shot at a major

    Woods says British Open becomes best shot at a major

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 7:57 AM EDT2018-07-17 11:57:04 GMT
    Wednesday, July 18 2018 3:58 AM EDT2018-07-18 07:58:38 GMT
    (AP Photo/Alastair Grant). Tiger Woods of the United States smiles as he answers a question at a press conference for the 147th British Open Golf championships in Carnoustie, Scotland, Tuesday, July 17, 2018. The Opens Golf championships start Thursday.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant). Tiger Woods of the United States smiles as he answers a question at a press conference for the 147th British Open Golf championships in Carnoustie, Scotland, Tuesday, July 17, 2018. The Opens Golf championships start Thursday.
    Tiger Woods back at the British Open and liking his chances as the year of his recovery continues. 
    Tiger Woods back at the British Open and liking his chances as the year of his recovery continues. 
  • Correction: All-Star Game story

    Correction: All-Star Game story

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 11:39 AM EDT2018-07-17 15:39:18 GMT
    Wednesday, July 18 2018 3:55 AM EDT2018-07-18 07:55:26 GMT
    (AP Photo/Susan Walsh). Fireworks are displayed before the MLB Home Run Derby, at Nationals Park, Monday, July 16, 2018 in Washington. The 89th MLB baseball All-Star Game will be played Tuesday.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh). Fireworks are displayed before the MLB Home Run Derby, at Nationals Park, Monday, July 16, 2018 in Washington. The 89th MLB baseball All-Star Game will be played Tuesday.
    Head of baseball players' union says conversations will take place with commissioner's office over whether prohibitions against legalized gambling among his members' relatives may be needed. 
    Head of baseball players' union says conversations will take place with commissioner's office over whether prohibitions against legalized gambling among his members' relatives may be needed. 
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.