Pistorius trial: Defence quiz 'screams' neighbour

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Media captionDefence lawyer Barry Roux proposes a 'toilet test' in an attempt to prove a witness's evidence is unreliable

Defence lawyers of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius have resumed questioning a witness who told a court in Pretoria that she heard a woman's "terrible screams" on 14 February 2013.

Mr Pistorius has pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He shot dead the 29-year-old model and reality TV star at his home, saying he mistook her for an intruder.

The neighbour, Michelle Burger, said cries for help were followed by shots.

"She screamed terribly and she yelled for help. Then I also heard a man screaming for help. Three times he yelled for help," Ms Burger told the high court in the capital on the first day of the trial.

She said she called security and then heard four gunshots.

The arrest of the national sporting hero astounded South Africa.

The 27-year-old double amputee won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and also competed at the Olympics.

Media warned

For the first time in South Africa, parts of the trial are being televised live, although Ms Burger's testimony, in Afrikaans, is being relayed in audio.

Some witness testimony is being excluded from TV broadcasts, although audio of the entire trial is being broadcast.

The court was briefly adjourned as questioning began on the second day of the trial over concerns Ms Burger's photograph was shown on television on Tuesday.

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Image caption There is heavy rain in Pretoria on the the second day of the trial as Oscar Pistorius arrives at the court
Image copyright AFP
Image caption There is huge interest in South Africa and around the world about the trial
Image copyright AFP
Image caption South Africa was stunned when the athlete shot dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp

Judge Thokozile Masipa warned that no photographs of witnesses from any sources were to be used by the media and any violators would not be "treated with soft gloves".

The BBC's Andrew Harding in court says defence lawyer Barry Roux began his remarks by outlining what he would focus on with Ms Berger's testimony today: Her credibility and reliability.

On Monday, Mr Pistorius pleaded not guilty to all charges, including the "wilful and intentional murder of Reeva Steenkamp" as the trial began.

His lawyer read out a statement from the athlete, giving his version of events of how Ms Steenkamp died, saying he believed his girlfriend was in bed when he shot at the toilet door in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

State prosecutors say Mr Pistorius planned the killing and shot Ms Steenkamp after a row.

If found guilty of premeditated murder, he could face life imprisonment.

He has also been charged with illegally possessing ammunition.

There are no juries at trials in South Africa, and his fate will ultimately be decided by Judge Masipa.

Much of the case will depend on ballistic evidence from the scene of the shooting, correspondents say.

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Media captionOscar Pistorius trial day one: Key moments in 90 seconds

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