Pretoria: Oscar Pistorius has an anxiety disorder brought on by an unstable childhood and the “traumatic assault” of having his lower legs amputated as a baby, a psychologist told the court hearing the South African track star’s murder trial on Monday.
Pistorius was born without fibulas in his lower legs, leading to amputation at the age of 11 months. Testifying for the defence about his mental state, forensic psychiatrist Merryl Vorster said that because the surgery was at such a young age, it would have been impossible to reason with the baby, making the psychological scars much deeper.
“He was too young to understand why,” Vorster told the court. “His mother could not have comforted him, because he was in pre-language phase. It would been perceived as traumatic assault. Oscar has anxiety disorder.”
Pistorius is on trial for murder after shooting and killing his girlfriend, 29-year-old law graduate and model, Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year.
Vorster also said his parents’ divorce when he was a child would have added to the 27-year-old’s general feelings of anxiety and insecurity. Terrified of intruders breaking into the house, his mother slept with a pistol under her pillow, Vorster told the court.