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Unpicking Oscar’s story

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iol news pic Oscar trial day 5 1

REUTERS

A police officer looks on as Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius (R) arrives at court ahead of the fifth day of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Johannesburg -

The detailed statement that Oscar Pistorius used at his bail application may come back to haunt him at his trial.

This was after it turned out that some things the defence now claims occurred on the morning that Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead were not contained in the statement the paralympian made when he applied for bail last year.

There also appear to be many contradictions.

 

Part of Pistorius’s bail statement reads: “When I reached the bed, I realised that Reeva was not in bed. That is when it dawned on me that it could have been Reeva who was in the toilet.

I returned to the bathroom calling her name. I tried to open the toilet door but it was locked. I rushed back into the bedroom and opened the sliding door exiting onto the balcony and screamed for help.”

According to State prosecutor Gerrie Nel, the defence’s version is that after the shooting, Pistorius went to the bedroom to check on Steenkamp. After realising that the she was not on the bed, he screamed anxiously as he went to the bathroom realising that the person that had been shot in the bathroom could have been Steenkamp.

“Oscar Pistorius did not say in his bail application that he screamed anxiously after the shots. They can’t say that that’s their case,” Nel said.

Witnesses have testified that they heard a woman’s screams followed by loud bangs which they thought to be gunshots on that morning.

They said the woman’s screams were of someone who was petrified, whose life was in danger. The screams, they said, were before and immediately after the shots.

However, the defence’s case is that the screams the neighbours heard were in fact Pistorius’s, because when he is anxious his voice pitches and he “sounds like a woman”.

They said Steenkamp did not scream because the extent of her injuries rendered her unable to so do.

In his bail application statement, Pistorius also said he slept with his gun under his bed because he was acutely aware of violent crime being committed by intruders entering homes.

“I have received death threats before. I have also been a victim of violence and of burglaries before. “For that reason I kept my firearm, a 9mm parabellum, underneath my bed when I went to bed at night.”

However, in her testimony yesterday, Pistorius’s former girlfriend Samantha Taylor disputed this.

Taylor, who claims she broke up with Pistorius after he cheated on her with Steenkamp, said Pistorius always put his gun on the bedside table.

“Mr Pistorius never put his gun under the bed when I was there.”

Taylor also said it was not true that Pistorius screamed like a woman when anxious. She said Pistorius screamed at her on more than one occasion and she never confused his screams with those of a woman.

The testimony of the security guard who was on duty on February 14 also revealed missing details in the athlete’s bail application statement.

In his statement, Pistorius said he called the estate manager after the shooting and that while he was still trying to resuscitate Steenkamp, a man who informed him that he was a doctor also arrived.

His bail statement does not refer to a visit by the estate’s security after the shooting, nor to a call made by Pieter Baba, a security guard on duty that night, to him.

Yesterday Baba testified that he spoke to Pistorius shortly after the incident and the athlete responded saying: “Everything is fine.”

At the time, Baba was not aware that Steenkamp was lying dead in the house.

Baba is still under cross-examination with defence advocate Barry Roux challenging his version of events.

The case continues.

Independent on Saturday


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