Pistorius neighbour 'heard fight'

PRETORIA - A second witness at the murder trial of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has told a court in the capital Pretoria she was awoken by the sounds of a fight early on 14 February 2013.

Mr Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to intentionally killing 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.

Estelle Van Der Merwe, a neighbour, said the row had lasted about an hour.

"It seemed like somebody was involved in a fight," said Ms Van Der Merwe, who lives in the same gated Pretoria housing estate as the Paralympic athlete. "People were talking in loud voices."

The argument woke her at about 01:56 local time (23:56 GMT) and lasted about an hour. After that, she heard four loud sounds in succession.

Ms Van Der Merwe was the second witness to take the stand at the murder trial of Mr Pistorius, which began at the high court in on Monday.

The arrest of the 27-year-old double amputee and gold medal winner astounded South Africa.

For the first time in South Africa, parts of the trial are being televised live, although some witness testimony, including that of Ms Van Der Merwe, is being excluded from TV broadcasts.

However, the audio of the entire trial is being aired.

Mrs Van Der Merwe told state prosecutor Gerrie Nel she had been irritated by the noise of the argument and placed a pillow on her head "in hope of falling asleep again".

She could not make out what the voices were saying, she said.

The second day of the trial began with defence lawyer Barry Roux quizzing the first witness, Michelle Burger, about her account of hearing a woman's screams, a man calling for help and then four gunshots.

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