Blood spatter above Oscar’s bed - cop

Crime & Courts

Pretoria - Blood spatter was photographed above Oscar Pistorius's headboard the morning after he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, Warrant Officer Barend “Bennie” van Staden said during Pistorius's murder trial in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

Van Staden had attended the scene at Pistorius’s Silverwoods Estate home a short while after the incident.

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One of the photos taken by Warrant Officer Barend Bennie van Staden, which were shown during Oscar Pistorius's murder trial in the High Court in Pretoria. Photo: @AlexCrawfordSkyOne of the photos taken by Warrant Officer Bennie van Staden, which were shown during Oscar Pistorius's murder trial in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday. Photo: @AlexCrawfordSky

He was the police photographer on the crime scene, and said he photographed the blood spots on the wall as part of the extensive collection of pictures of the scene following Steenkamp’s death on February 14, 2013.

He told the court he had compiled 15 different albums of the scene.

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel flipped back and forth through the photos, reading out their numbers, while Van Staden recited the times he took them.

Van Staden said he had arrived at the home at 4:50am with his equipment.

He met up with former chief investigator, Hilton Botha, who told him what had happened.

Van Staden asked Botha to clear the scene of all people so he could begin his work.

He told the court that the date, time and photo number is recorded in the data of each image.

Van Staden said that several copies are made of the photos, and that storage devices containing these photos are kept in storage.

After he had started taking photos, Van Staden entered the home's garage. Here he was was alone with Pistorius and explained who he was and his job.

The image of the forlorn-looking Pistorius without a shirt, his shorts, prosthetic legs and arms spattered with blood was taken at 5.12am.

The last close-ups of Pistorius' prosthetics were taken much later at around 7.39am. Minutes after the first photos of Pistorius were taken, Van Staden was already taking photos of Steenkamp's body and the blood trail leading upstairs to where the shooting had happened.

He also took a shot of Steenkamp's black vest and the hole on it.

He also conducted the photographs of the scene in the afternoon on the following day.

Once again, the mysterious marks on the side of the door to the main bedroom emerged, but it's yet to be established in court what caused them.

Van Staden was the one to find another gun magazine and its pouch in Pistorius' bedside table.

He also recorded the duvet on Pistorius's bedroom floor, and took photos of the blood spots on it after opening it.

He also said the bedroom fans that Pistorius said he had fetched before the shooting were off when Van Staden entered the room.

Steenkamp's black Virgin Active overnight bag and her sandals were next to the bed, and Van Staden said that his images captured how they had been found.

More than an hour after he arrived, he started photographing the bathroom and toilet cubicle where Steenkamp was shot.

He noticed the bathroom window was open.

During his work, van Staden had thrown one of the towels into the adjacent bath tub. He said Botha had taken the two cellphones and the firearm found on the floor with the towels.

The wall on the left hand side of the toilet cubicle door had also been damaged, with some broken tiles found by Van Staden on the floor.

A crack on the wall of the toilet cubicle was also recorded by the photographer.

Van Staden said his photographs showed the sequence in which he went through the home on his own investigation.

Each of his albums contained photos from a particular scene.

Nel asked about an image showing the small passage leading from the main bedroom to the en suite bathroom. Plastic cones had been placed on the two cartridges to make their positions in and outside the bathroom more visible.

Other cones were also placed on the bullet fragments on the floor.

When he moved the magazine rack in the cubicle, he found three fragments beneath it.

According to Van Staden, the firearm was made safe by a fingerprints expert on the scene, and he had taken a photo of a cartridge that had been removed from the gun.

Van Staden also told the court that some of the blood spatter images presented to the court were taken in March and mislabelled.

It was only in March that investigators began fully measuring the blood spatter on orders from Lieutenant Colonel van der Nest.

Van Staden was also present when the scene was reconstructed on March 8.

Another album from February 16 showed a safe in one of Pistorius's passage cupboards.

Van Staden was present when Pistorius's brother Carl and family advocate Kenny Oldwadge opened up the safe for investigators.

Inside the safe were valuables including Pistorius' medals and a box of .38 special cartridges.

The items were taken by Carl, who handed the cartridges over to Oldwadge.

The court was also shown how the downstairs lounge window had been broken, but Van Staden said no shards of glass were lying around.

Van Staden was also responsible for the aerial photos used to determine how far Pistorius lived from his neighbours who heard commotion from the home on the night of the shooting.

He also took photos of the Tasha's restaurant where Pistorius accidentally discharged a firearm in January 2013.

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The Star and Sapa

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