‘Oscar called and said: “I've shot Reeva” ’

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Copy of South Africa Pistorius Trial~5

* This story has been edited to fix Johan Stander's daughter's name, which is Carice.

Pretoria - More details about the bloody aftermath of Oscar Pistorius's shooting of Reeva Steenkamp have emerged on Monday morning at the High Court in Pretoria.

After two weeks of adjournment, the defence began their newest arguments by calling Johan Stander, the former security manager at Pistorius's Pretoria East estate, to the stand.

Stander was one of the first people to arrive at the scene of the shooting with his daughter after being contacted by Pistorius.

Stander told the court he was friendly with Pistorius after the athlete offered to help him move into his own home in 2009.

Stander said he had often looked after Pistorius's dogs when the athlete left the country.

He provided the SAPS with two statements on what he saw the night Pistorius shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp.

Stander said he was originally asked to be a State witness and met with the prosecution. However, he was never called to the stand.

Stander said there was a second consultation with the prosecution team in January where he was told only one person from each family on the witness list would be called. However, Stander's daughter Carice was also not called by the prosecution.

Stander said on the night of the shooting he was called by Pistorius.

“I've shot Reeva… I thought she was an intruder… Please, please come,” the athlete told Stander.

He said after getting up, Carice had also woken up and came to him to say she had heard somebody scream.

The father and daughter decided to go to the home together, with Carice driving.

The pair rushed to the front door, where they noticed the lights were on inside. She pushed open the door, and they saw Pistorius coming down the stairs with Steenkamp's bleeding body in his arms. “I could see she had a head wound,” said Stander.

“When Mr Pistorius saw us, there was relief on his face,” he added.

Pistorius placed Steenkamp down, and Stander said he was in “real pain” praying and crying as Stander and his daughter tried to calm him down. Pistorius told them he wanted to put Steenkamp in his car to take her to hospital for emergency treatment.

Carice had told Pistorius to put Steenkamp on the ground, and Stander tried to call an ambulance outside. Stander bumped into another neighbour, Dr Johan Stipp, who had arrived to help.

Stander continued to call for help.

The ambulance arrived a short while later, while Stipp and Stander were still inside.

Stipp told Stander he had heard shots, screams, followed by silence and a few shots again.

By this point, the ambulance workers had already declared Steenkamp dead.

The ambulance workers had asked for Steenkamp's ID documents, and Pistorius went upstairs, followed a little later by Carice.

He asked the security guard who arrived to call the police.

After the large investigation team arrived, Stander left and he never went back inside the home.

When asked by defence advocate Kenny Oldwadge to give more details of Stander's arrival at the house, the security manager said he didn't want to remember it again.

He said Pistorius was “torn apart”, “broken” and with an unforgettable expression on his face as he carried Steenkamp downstairs.

His voice trembling, Stander said Pistorius begged God to keep her alive.

Stander said that Pistorius had only gone upstairs for only about 30 seconds when fetching the ID.

He was able to say that some police officers, plain-clothed and uniformed, had gone upstairs after they arrived in the early hours of the morning.

Stander said he was able to remember Stipp's own version of what he had heard because he had discussed the number of shots with his daughter.

Oldwadge asked about Pistorius's pets, and Stander said that he had sometimes fed the two dogs while the athlete travelled.

He said the dogs were not aggressive. Stander said he had recently resigned from management at the estate, but knew of three incidents of crime at the estate: A woman was held up at her own home, another resident's house was broken into by criminals using a ladder and there was a theft of another resident's electronics.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said he was not willing to accept hearsay evidence such as the informal crime statistics at the estate.

Stander did say that the reports of such incidents were logged by the estate management. He said he had told Pistorius of these incidents and management's security concerns.

Stander then went on to say how Steenkamp was willing to look after the house while Pistorius went to Cape Town, meaning Stander didn't have to watch the pets.

“So yes, she did stay at his house (without him),” said Stander.

The court was shown an image of Stander's home, which was more than 200m away from Pistorius's house.

However, the defence pointed out to drive to the home would be a more than 500m journey.

Nel began his cross-examination by asking how, during Stander's stint as part of the security management at the Silverwoods Estate, the security there had increased.

Stander said beams and other upgrades had been installed during his tenure.

Stander was asked to say when the security breaches and other crimes occurs, but he was unable to say exactly when they had occurred.

Nel said police reports suggested two of them had occurred in 2009. Nel posited that Silverwoods was a very safe estate, at least as of January 2013.

Stander admitted he didn't have burglar proofing on his windows, and on the night of his shooting, his daughter had gone to sleep with her balcony door open.

Stander said that Pistorius had not said much to him after he arrived at the athlete's home.

The former security manager said he had occasionally given advice to the athlete and their relationship was friendly. But Stander said he had never socialised with him by inviting him over for a braai or dinner.

He had also spoken with Pistorius at the memorial service but had not spoken to the athlete for months.

Nel asked if Pistorius had ever said he'd “made a mistake” after the shooting. Stander said he had, as when Pistorius had called him, he'd said he thought Steenkamp was an intruder, and he inferred this meant the athlete thought he'd made a mistake.

Nel asked why Stander would give inferences to the court, and implied that Stander was trying to defend the athlete.

Nel asked if Pistorius's mistake was accidentally shooting entirely, or that he shot Steenkamp, but Stander was unable to answer.

Stander said he had been following the trial, some of it through the newspapers and television.

Nel asked about Pistorius's home's alarm system. Stander said the alarm system was in place, and could be activated and deactivated using a remote.

Stander also told the court that Steenkamp knew how to activate the alarm, but was unable to say if it made an audible noise when being turned on or off by remote.

Stander then clarified that when Steenkamp was staying at Pistorius's home alone, it was only for about a week.

In his re-examination, Oldwadge asked whether or not Stander and his daughter were the first people on the scene.

Stander said a security guard from the estate was outside the house, but he and his daughter were first on the scene.

Oldwadge also insisted that Stander's interpretation of the “mistake” was entirely his own, and not reflective of Pistorius's own attitude to the shooting.

shain.germaner@inl.co.za

The Star

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