Pistorius's evaluation will be 'mentally taxing'

The athlete's 30-day psychiatric evaluation started yesterday at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital.

FILE IMAGE: Oscar Pistorius's psychiatric evaluation at the Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital began on 26 May, 2014. Picture: Pool.

PRETORIA - A clinical psychologist who has worked at the Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital in Pretoria says while day one of murder accused Oscar Pistorius's psychiatric evaluation may have been relatively simple, he can expect a mentally and emotionally taxing few weeks.

The athlete reported to the hospital yesterday for the first day of the court-ordered study, which could continue for a month.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ordered that the athlete be admitted as an out-patient at the facility for 30 days to establish whether mental illness played a role in the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his upmarket Pretoria East home on Valentine's Day last year.

The athlete says he shot the model by accident, while the state maintains it was a case of premeditated murder.

The application to refer the accused for the evaluation was prompted by his own psychiatrist, Dr Merryll Vorster, testifying that she'd diagnosed him with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Four specialists including three psychologists and a psychiatrist will be monitoring him.

Clinical psychologist Carly Abramovitz says one of the Weskoppies panel of experts' first duties would be to get to know their patient.

"Ask him a couple of questions just to get to know him and possibly also introduce him to the process so they will try and familiarise him with what they are going to do."

She says through numerous interviews and tests; they'd try understanding Pistorius state of mind on the morning of Valentine's Day a year ago.

"Trying to get him to go back in his memory into that moment, they can try and work out from his account whether that indicated whether he was in a particularly heightened state of anxiety."

Pistorius has been ordered to report to the facility daily at 9am where he will remain until 4pm or until he is excused.

The report is expected to be presented in court at the end of next month.

Former high-profile patients at the hospital include 'Modimolle Monster' Johan Kotze and paedophile Cezanne Visser, also known as 'Advocate Barbie'.

The athlete's murder trial will resume on 30 June.