Pretoria - Prosecutor Gerrie Nel has finally revealed that the state intends to prove that Reeva Steenkamp ran screaming from Oscar Pistorius’ bedroom the night he shot and killed her.
Nel’s stringent cross-examination earlier questioned the sincerity of Pistorius’ public apology to the Steenkamp family for the shooting, as well as the nature of the couple’s relationship in the days leading up to her death. On Thursday afternoon, Nel continued asking Pistorius about whether the athlete’s memory of the night had been altered because of the massive amount of evidence and statements he had studied over the past year.
Nel asked about the dinner Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp had eaten the night of the shooting. Pistorius said Steenkamp had made a chicken stirfry with vegetables, but he did not eat anything else that night after 7pm, or know if Steenkamp had.
Pistorius said it was unlikely Steenkamp would have eaten anything else that night without him knowing it. Pistorius said he’d been surfing on his iPad and texting his cousin later that night after going upstairs. He then called his cousin, and while he spoke, Steenkamp was doing yoga stretches on the floor next to the bed.
As the conversation came to an end, Steenkamp called him to the bathroom to brush his teeth, and they returned to the bedroom.
Pistorius said he’d taken the left hand side of the bed because of a shoulder injury, which was unusual.
He had placed two fans in the doorway of the bedroom’s balcony, and placed his prosthetic legs on the floor, lying flat.
Once he was in bed, he used his iPad while with Steenkamp, and she showed him some pictures off of her phone of homes.
“When you fall asleep will you bring the fans in and close the door?” he asked Steenkamp, before falling asleep.
The iPad was on Steenkamp’s side of the bed, and Pistorius theorized she had placed it there when she went to sleep.
Pistorius claimed he woke up from the humidity in the room, and Nel asked if the athlete had ever told anyone he woke up in a cold sweat from a noise. Pistorius said he had not.
Steenkamp had turned to him and asked him if he couldn’t sleep, and he got up to bring the fans in. First the smaller, and then the larger, and that he had no difficulty closing the doors, locking them and closing the curtains.
He said the room was only lit by a small sliver of light, and when he brought the fans in and closed the curtains it was “pitch black”.
He said while doing this, he never looked at Steenkamp, and she didn’t say another word. Pistorius said he didn’t see her get up. Nel said that it was strange that even though Steenkamp was about two meters away that he never noticed her getting up.
“It was pitch black,” Pistorius replied, and Nel shot back that Steenkamp must have only got up after he closed the curtains.
“I don’t know when she got up,” the athlete said.
Pistorius had picked up a pair of jeans on the floor to place it over an amplifier that was shining a small LED light.
Nel showed the court an image of the bedroom, and showed the jeans and duvet on the floor. If Pistorius had gone towards the amplifier, Nel said the athlete would have been facing the passage Steenkamp would have had to have gone down towards the bathroom.
Pistorius was also not able to explain how the bed’s duvet had landed up on the floor, as he claimed he had not moved it.
The then-chief investigator, Hilton Botha, had said in his statement he had found the duvet in this position.
Nel said the crime scene photographer who took the image had also found the duvet there.
When they went to bed, Pistorius said Steenkamp had been using the duvet. He said that when he woke up, her legs were still under the duvet.
“You would have seen her getting out of the bed,” said Nel, but Pistorius said he had no idea when she stood up, and she may have moved over to his side of the bed – further from the balcony door – when she got up.
“Your versions a lie. You never closed the curtains,” said Nel. Nel said for Pistorius’ story to work, a police officer would have had to open the curtains, move the fans and move the bedding.
Pistorius said that considering his watches had been stolen from his room – supposedly by investigators – this could have happened.
Nel said circumstantial evidence by neighbours who heard female screams showed there was an argument the night of the shooting. “(We can infer) the deceased ran screaming from there,” Nel put to Pistorius. The prosecutor said he would be building a case to show that when Pistorius got up, the couple had an argument that left her screaming as she ran from the bedroom.
Defence advocate, Barry Roux, objected to this, as the state had not made this version known to the defence.
“Your version is so improbable that nobody would ever believe it’s reasonably possible,” said Nel.