Oscar Pistorius Trial Day 23: Steenkamp told Pistorius 'I love you' for first time on night she died


On the envelope, there's the word "Ozzy", "with hearts and a squiggle," Oscar Pistorius said on the stand.

Inside: a card, from the girlfriend he shot and killed on Valentine's morning last year.

"Roses are red, violets are blue …" Pistorius opens it. "And then inside she wrote, 'I think today is a good day to tell you that … I love you,' " he read, his voice trembling but clear.

The note, in neat black ballpoint letters, is signed "Reeves," with a smiley face and three kisses.

It is the first time Reeva Steenkamp told the athlete – her boyfriend of a little more than three months – "I love you." A card she asked her "baba" to only open on Valentine's Day itself.

"No further questions."

With that, defense attorney Barry Roux ended his brief re-examination.

In its case against Pistorius, the prosecution has tried to cast doubt on the relationship between the Paralympian and the model, citing WhatsApp arguments between the couple as evidence. But it appears that, as she went to sleep that evening, Steenkamp was very much in love with the star athlete, and ready to take their commitment to the next level.

The Paralympian, charged with premeditated murder, denies he intended to kill her and says it was an accident, believing her to be an intruder.

Over five days of cross-examination, prosecutor Gerrie Nel has been unrelenting in his grueling questioning, taking every opportunity to paint a picture of a Valentine's morning fraught with anger; a lovers' quarrel that ended in tragedy.

Nicknamed the "bull terrier," he finished his interrogation with a strident summary of his case.

Several neighbours heard "Reeva's bloodcurdling screams, not yours," Nel told Pistorius.

"I don't agree, my lady," Pistorius replied to the judge, quietly, in the face of an animated Nel.

"… That they heard that when she escaped from you. That's why she screamed like that," Nel pressed.

"No, I don't agree," said Pistorius.

"You fired four shots through that door whilst knowing that she was standing behind the door …"

"That's incorrect, my lady," the athlete interrupted.

"… That you knew that she was talking to you…"

"That's incorrect, my lady," Pistorius said. But the accusations went on, rising to a crescendo.

"She was locked into the toilet. You armed yourself with the sole purpose of shooting and killing her, and that's what you did," Nel declared.

"That's not true, my lady," Pistorius protested.

"Afterwards, indeed, you were overcome by what you'd done, that is true…"

"That is true, my lady," Pistorius agreed.

"… Only because it was your intention to kill her. You realized that," Nel finished.

"On the opposite, my lady," Pistorius said calmly.

It was the most composed the emotional athlete has been in days, having previously been driven to tearful outbursts and wild sobs by Nel's pointed questioning and insinuations of murderous intent. Most crucially, during his cross-examination, Pistorius appeared confused