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Prof. testifies about Pistorius’s disability

Wayne Derman insists the athlete’s behaviour is consistent with the “fight-or-flight” response.

Oscar Pistorius gets dropped off in front of the High Court in Pretoria ahead of day 37 of his murder trial on 3 July 2014. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

PRETORIA - State prosecutor Gerrie Nel on Thursday cross-examined a sports medical practitioner in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.

The state on Wednesday asked Professor Wayne Derman why the athlete approached perceived danger if he felt so vulnerable.

The professor, who treated the athlete, earlier told the North Gauteng High Court about the sportsman's heightened anxiety and how this related to his disability.

The 27-year-old Olympic and Paralympic athlete is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his upmarket Pretoria East home on Valentine's Day last year.

Derman insists Pistorius's behaviour is consistent with the "fight-or-flight" response.

He said in the bedroom on the night in question, Pistorius heard a window opening and his first response was to freeze.

The expert said there was an element of thinking when he armed himself.

The professor said that as an athlete, Pistorius was conditioned to react to an auditory response.

In his testimony, the sportsman claimed that before he knew it and without thinking, he opened fire at the closed bathroom door when he heard a noise.

Derman said the athlete's fight response dominated his behaviour, which explained why he approached the perceived danger.

He also believed Pistorius didn't have the option to flee because he was on his stumps.

The matter will resume in the Pretoria court on Monday.

Video: Day 36.

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