'Bull terrier' Nel tears into Pistorius

State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel has begun with an aggressive cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius.

FILE: State prosecutor Gerrie Nel. Picture: Pool.

PRETORIA - State prosecutor Gerrie Nel has begun his cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius.

Pistorius on Monday began leading evidence with his defence advocate Barry Roux as he gave his account of what happened the morning he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on 14 February 2013.

Nel opened up his cross-examination by asking Pistorius, "You are one of the most recognisable sportsman?"

Pistorius responded, "I was, but I made a mistake."

An aggressive Nel asked Pistorius, "What mistake? You killed Reeva! Take responsibility for killing Reeva. Say it!"

Nel then moved on to asking Pistorius about a 'zombie stopper' and referred to a video of people shooting watermelons.

The athlete claimed to have never heard of the term 'zombie stopper'.

But Nel said he would produce a video and Pistorius said he wanted to view it.

Roux immediately objected and said the state were ambushing his client.

Like a man on a mission, Nel responded to Roux's objection and said, "I asked the witness whether he would like to see it, it's in the public domain."

Roux then read legal provisions and tried to ensure the video was not played.

Pistorius looked on as Roux and Nel battled over admissibility of the Sky News video.

The video Nel referred to shows Pistorius and rugby player Francois Hougaard at a shooting range firing pistols and shotguns.

A screenshot from the Sky News report shows Oscar Pistorius practicing with the pistol he used to kill Reeva Steenkamp. Picture: Sky News video

After shooting a watermelon to smithereens, a voice which sounds like Pistorius can be heard saying, "It's a lot softer than brain, but f***! It's like a zombie stopper."

The zombie stopper video report by Sky News

After the battle, Judge Thokozile Masipa adjourned proceedings to allow herself time to apply her mind on the issue.


When the judge returned, the defence said it had viewed the video and would allow it to be shown.

After the video was shown, Nel asked Pistorius, "Can you now recall this?"

Pistorius recalled the video and said he had viewed it before, and confirmed it was his voice on the video, but for some reason he could not recall the words zombie stopper.

"It's upsetting to hear me say those words, but you can't compare a human to a zombie."

Nel makes no mistake and immediately told Pistorius, "But you did compare zombies to humans. And Black Talon ammunition? We see the effect the ammunition has on a watermelon, it exploded. The same thing happened to Reeva's head."

Pistorius broke down again as he was shown a photograph of Steenkamp's head after she was shot.

Nel tries to get Pistorius to look at the picture of Steenkamp's head. But refused and eventually broke down.

Pistorius, seemingly angry and in a high-pitched voice, retorts, "I touched her head, I felt it. I don't have to look at a picture of what torments me."

The athlete battled to come back from the breakdown and continued to cry.

Nel said he would give some time for Pistorius to regain his composure.

Upon that, the matter was adjourned.

Proceedings have since resumed.