London: A psychiatrist testifying in the murder trial of Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius has said that the South African athlete has had an anxiety disorder since childhood and was 'anxious' about violent crime.
The double-amputee Paralympian denies intentionally killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year and claimed to have mistook the model and law graduate for an intruder.
According to the BBC, psychiatrist Merryll Vorster said that Pistorius' actions when he shot Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year 'should be seen in context of his anxiety', adding that he is more likely to respond to any threat with 'fight' rather than 'flight'.
Vorster further said that the anxiety disorder was the result of surgery at the age of 11 months to remove Pistorius' lower legs, which was a 'traumatic assault' for an infant at that age, adding that Pistorius felt remorse over Steenkamp's death and hence developed a depressive disorder.
The psychiatrist also said that the reactions of Pistorius in the early hours of February 14 last year would have been different to that of a 'normal, able-bodied person without generalised anxiety disorder'.
Vorster said generalised anxiety disorders are not uncommon, and were not signs of mental illness, adding that safety measures at Pistorius' home were 'out of proportion' to the threat of crime in South Africa.
She said that Pistorius' parents separated when he was six and his father was not a responsible parent, adding that his mother's death in March 2002 meant that he lost an 'emotional attachment figure'.