Cop tells of Oscar crime scene

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Oscar Pistorius' sister Aimee, brother Carl and father Henke await the start of court proceedings in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Wednesday. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko

By KARABO NGOEPE, YOLANDE DU PREEZ, LALI VAN ZUYDAM and SAPA

Pretoria - When the investigating officer arrived at Oscar Pistorius’ home he found the lifeless body of Reeva Steenkamp lying at the bottom of the staircase.

Pistorius is charged with the murder of the law graduate and model at his home in the early hours of February 14.

He has denied the allegation in an affidavit, but has not pleaded yet to the charge. He said he shot through a bathroom door, thinking there was an intruder, and not realising the person inside was Steenkamp.

In response to the defence's application for more information, State prosecutor Gerrie Nel submitted a witness statement from the investigating officer Hilton Botha, who has been in the police service for 16 years.

Botha described to the packed courtroom that: “She was wearing a white short and a black vest and was covered in towels.”

He indicated Steenkamp had three entrance wounds, one in the head just above the ear, one in her elbow and one in the hip.

Botha said an alternative charge of possession of illegal ammunition could be added as several rounds of .38 special caliber bullets were found in a safe in Pistorius' bedroom.

Botha was also describing to the court the layout of Pistorius’ home and the scene he found.

Botha told the court that a pair of female slippers were found on the left hand side of the bed and Steenkamp's overnight bag was found on a couch in the room.

He indicated that one cartridge was found in the passageway between the bedroom and the bathroom and three more cartridges were found in the bathroom.

Pistorius' 9mm pistol was found on a shower mat in front of the shower. Two iPhones were also in the bathroom.

Botha told the court neither of the cellphones had been used to make calls. Two Blackberry handsets were also found in the bedroom and they had not been used in months.

Botha testified that the bathroom door was broken and a cricket bat was found on the floor.

The State will also submit a witness statement that there was non-stop fighting at Pistorius' home on the morning Steenkamp was shot dead, the Pretoria Magistrate's Court heard on Wednesday.

“The accused's actions and phone calls on the night is part of pre-planning,” Nel said earlier on Wednesday.

Asked whether he opposed bail for Pistorius, Nel said: Yes, because he is a flight risk.”

He said they didn't want “another Dewani”, referring to applications to extradite Shrien Dewani from the United Kingdom. Dewani is accused of murdering his wife Anni while on honeymoon in South Africa.

Nair asked Nel how serious the crime was.

“It's a very serious crime. A defenceless woman was gunned down,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday Pistorius’s brother was seen leaving the Brooklyn police station after an early morning visit .

Journalists and photographers ran after Carl snapping pictures and trying to get him to comment, but he just got into his car and drove off.

Pistorius was once again shielded from the media when he was taken to court with the car windows closed with car mats.

Police at the Brooklyn police station once again tried to fool the media by using two cars but the small group of journalists were a step ahead of the police. Both of the station’s exits were covered and journalists were able to see that a person who had his face covered in one of the cars was not Pistorius.

And at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court his family arrived shortly after 8am and were escorted to the courtroom by security members.

Back on Wednesday morning, businessman Kenny Kunene arrived looking fly in jeans and a blue blazer with red trimming and white sunglasses.

One again their was a battle for the media trying to get seats in court c or the additional courtroom which was set up to transmit proceedings. Those who got the nod were given armbands.

Despite the case being broadcast on a big screen, members of the media still wanted to see Pistorius in the flesh.

Photographers were allowed into the courtroom for a few minutes to take photographs of Pistorius' family. They were then asked to leave the courtroom by court personnel as no pictures of Pistorius will be allowed.

Outside there was little activity, with none of the crowds of Tuesday.

A woman dressed in the colours of the ANC Women’s League and carrying a poster also slipped into the court building.

Pretoria News, Sapa


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