Physician says Pistorius is a ‘paradox’

PRETORIA, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius is a “paradox” whose past triumphs as a sprinter crossing the finish line with raised arms contrasted sharply with the daily, severe limitations that he endured because of his disability, a physician testified Thursday at the runner’s murder trial.

Wayne Derman, a professor of sport and exercise medicine at the University of Cape Town, said in court that the contrast likely contributed to stress and anxiety for Pistorius, who fatally shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a closed toilet door in his home. He testified for the defense, which wants to show that the athlete had a deep sense of vulnerability and it was a factor in what he has described as a mistaken shooting.

“You’ve got a paradox of an individual who is supremely able, and you’ve got an individual who is significantly disabled,” said Derman, who has worked with South African Olympic and Paralympic teams and has treated Pistorius over half a dozen years. He noted that Pistorius’ anxieties included concern about flying.

“He has a specific fear of being trapped somewhere without being able to move very rapidly,” Derman said. Referring to Pistorius’ decision to confront a perceived threat on the night he killed Steenkamp, Derman said “fleeing was not an option” because the runner has no lower legs.

Pistorius, 27, says he killed Steenkamp on Feb. 14, 2013 by mistake, thinking there was a dangerous intruder in his home. He shot her while on his stumps. The prosecution says he intentionally killed the 29-year-old model after the couple had a Valentine’s Day argument.

Pistorius, who is free on bail, faces 25 years to life in prison if found guilty of premeditated murder, but he could also be sentenced to a shorter prison term if convicted of murder without premeditation or negligent killing. Additionally, he faces separate gun-related charges.

During cross-examination, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said Derman, the physician, was giving “character evidence” rather than “expert evidence” and questioned whether the witness was capable of giving testimony that would work against Pistorius’ defense.

“The truth would come before my patient,” Derman said.

Nel countered: “You cannot give evidence against your patient, sir.”

More in Sports

RPI has changed way hoops coaches approach non-league games

The implementation of RPI for state-tourney seeding has local basketball coaches thinking differently.

Everett’s Akash Bains leaps over Prince George’s Josh Maser during a game Dec. 16, 2017, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Sivertips bounce back, rout Cougars 4-0

Dustin Wolf notches his first career shutout as Everett rebounds from a loss to beat Prince George.

How might NHL team in Seattle impact Silvertips?

A look at local reaction to the possibility of the NHL coming to Seattle.

Seahawks ditch ‘every game is the same’ mantra for Rams showdown

Seattle hosts first-place Los Angeles in what is essentially the NFC West championship game on Sunday.

Freshmen contributing for UW men’s basketball team

Mike Hopkins likes what he’s seen from his freshmen through… Continue reading

Saturday’s prep scores, recaps

BOYS BASKETBALL Neah Bay 61, Darrington 55 Bellingham 77, Sultan 55 Interlake… Continue reading

Saturday’s stars of the night

Peter Kim, Anthony Armad, Kamiak wrestling Kim and Armad, both seniors, helped… Continue reading

Friday’s prep basketball scores, recaps

Girls teams get defensive in decisive victories.

Glacier Peak’s Makayla Guerra attempts a shot past Jackson’s Sydney Carter Friday night at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish on December 15, 2017. Glacier Peak won 63-46. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
New-look Glacier Peak girls basketball beats Jackson 63-46

The Grizzlies are starting to find their footing after losing three stars to graduation from last season.

Most Read