Nel out to prove Oscar tailored evidence

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oscar apr 14 AP Oscar Pistorius, right, accompanied by relatives arrives at the High Court in Pretoria on Monday. Picture: Themba Hadebe

Pretoria - The prosecution in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius has accused the athlete of trying - and failing - to tailor his evidence.

On Monday morning, Pistorius took to the stand for a sixth day, five of which have revolved around prosecutor Gerrie Nel's attempts to disprove the murder accused’s version of events.

Nel told the High Court in Pretoria on Monday morning that his cross-examination would show that Pistorius's version of how he accidentally shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp was so improbable that it was simply untrue.

The lawyer said Pistorius had tailored his defence to the State's case in a bid to save himself.

Nel asked the athlete if Steenkamp was a neat person, and whether she would pack away her clothes.

Pistorius said he had never seen her cupboards, but that she was generally very neat.

The only thing out of place, according to Nel, was the pair of her jeans on the floor of the bedroom. All of her other clothes were in the overnight bag.

Pistorius had allegedly picked them up just minutes before the shooting to use them to cover an LED light on his bedroom amplifier.

The athlete said that Steenkamp's slops (shoes) were also on the floor. Nel said these were neatly placed on the bed's left hand side.

Pistorius said that Steenkamp had spent the night sleeping on the right hand side of the bed, an exception because Pistorius had a shoulder injury.

Pistorius said there wasn't much space next to the right hand side of the bed, so she may have placed her slops on the left.

Nel asked if Steenkamp would usually use the slops when she got up out of bed. Pistorius said she may have if she was going to walk on the tiled floors of his house.

Nel then asked if Steenkamp was actually trying to leave on the night of the shooting, and that was why she had moved her shoes.

Pistorius denied this.

Nel said that the State's case was that Pistorius and Steenkamp were awake, and they had an argument forcing Steenkamp to try and leave.

The athlete was then asked to explain the State's expert testimony that Steenkamp had eaten a few hours before the shooting, contradicting Pistorius's version the pair were asleep.

Pistorius defence team's own expert had argued that the analysis of contents of Steenkamp's stomach was inexact at best, which the athlete reminded Nel of.

The State then brought up the testimony of one of Pistorius's neighbours who said they had heard a woman's screaming the night of the shooting, and this lent itself to the possibility that Steenkamp had been awake - and had even eaten.

Pistorius said that the couple had eaten just after 7pm, and he didn't know if she had eaten again.

He said there was a possibility Steenkamp could have eaten.

Nel said this was impossible, as Pistorius downstairs alarm would have gone off. Pistorius said Steenkamp could have turned the alarm off and on, but that he didn't know.

The State then moved back to the fans Pistorius said he had been bringing inside just before he heard a noise in his en suite bathroom.

Pistorius was unable to answer which of the officers who had arrived at his home after the killing had gone upstairs and when.

Nel put it to Pistorius that one of the police investigators, Colonel Giliam van Rensburg, said he had focused on the large tripod fan in the main bedroom.

The officer said the fan was in a different position to what the athlete had said, and Nel asked why Pistorius’s defence lawyer, Barry Roux, had not put the supposed inaccuracy to the officer during cross-examination.

Nel said this was further evidence that Pistorius had tailored his version, as the position of the fans was never mentioned in his original version of events.

He then returned to the LED light Pistorius had said was distracting him the night of the shooting. Nel said this meant the blue LED light meant the amplifier was on, which would have been odd if the couple were asleep.

A photo of the amplifier was shown to the court, and Nel asked why the other lights on the amplifier hadn't bothered the athlete.

Pistorius said these were less bright than the others. Nel then asked why Pistorius didn't just switch it off, rather than cover it.

He said he couldn't remember if he tried to turn it off.

Nel accused Pistorius of inventing events such as this to create enough time - in his version - for Steenkamp to have made it to the bathroom.

Another photo was shown to Pistorius of the jeans and bedding lying on his bedroom floor.

On the bedding and the surrounding carpets were small dots of blood spatter.

Nel argued the blood spatter was caused when Pistorius carried Steenkamp from the bathroom, but this was impossible based on the athlete's version.

Pistorius had said the duvet was on the bed prior to the shooting, and that the carpet and bedding blood stains could be connected.

Nel asked Pistorius to admit that he'd been mistaken regarding the duvet's location.

The lawyer said that Pistorius's argument that police may have moved items in the room meant that the officer responsible must have been “incredibly” clever to have moved everything so perfectly.

Next Nel asked about Pistorius having armed himself after hearing a noise in the en suite bathroom. Pistorius had said he spoke to Steenkamp in a “low tone” for her to call the police.

Pistorius denied having originally said he “whispered”, but the court's record proved he had.

“Why do you want to steer away from a whisper?” asked Nel.

Pistorius said a whisper would have meant Steenkamp likely wouldn't have heard his warning. Nel said Pistorius was trying to steer away from the possibility he had not ensured Steenkamp had heard this warning.

Pistorius testified earlier that Steenkamp had been awake when he'd woken up from the humidity, and asked him if he couldn't sleep.

Nel asked if Pistorius had told her that he was going to close the curtains and bring in his fans from the balcony doorway.

Nel said it was strange that Steenkamp, then awake, had not asked him where he was going in the middle of the night.

“I don't know if she was fully awake... Maybe she didn't think of asking me why,” said Pistorius.

The prosecution then moved onto the noise Pistorius heard in the bathroom that made him think an intruder was in the house.

Pistorius said he heard a window sliding in his bathroom. Nel said that if Steenkamp was in the room, she would have heard it as well, and possibly said something.

“If she heard what I heard, there wouldn't have been a response,” said Pistorius, who said he assumed Steenkamp was just as frightened as he was.

“You did not identify the noise in the bail application,” said Nel, “that is a big issue”.

Nel said Pistorius was such a stickler for detail who corrected him on small issues that it was odd such an important point was not included.

Pistorius said his bail application was read to him while still in custody, and because it was accurate, he signed it.

The athlete said he didn't know it had to be an exhaustive statement.

Pistorius was then asked why his plea explanation had also not mentioned these specifics, as the athlete had all the facts and was no longer traumatised.

Pistorius said he wasn't sure.

“I had to trust in my legal team,” he added.

Nel said that Pistorius tailoring his testimony was the only thing that made sense.

Nel then asked about the noise Pistorius heard when he got closer to the bathroom.

Armed with his gun in the passageway, Pistorius said he wanted to chase these perceived intruders out of his house to protect Steenkamp.

Nel then asked if Pistorius if he wanted to do to them what he'd done "to the watermelon".

Last week, the court was shown a video of the athlete firing on a watermelon with a high powered gun, exploding it.

The athlete said he did not want to do that to the intruder.

Pistorius had already shouted in the passageway, and when Nel asked him what he said, Pistorius began weeping again.

Through tears he relayed what he had said: "Get the f*ck out of my house. Get the f*ck out of my house."

He turned away from the court, tears in his eyes, and the court adjourned for him to compose himself.

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