Oscar’s neighbour tells of shots, screamingComment on this story
Pretoria - Further crucial testimony about the night Reeva Steenkamp was shot and killed was presented in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday morning, as one of Oscar Pistorius's neighbours has been brought to the stand to poke holes in the athlete's version of events.
Anette Stipp was called to testify to explain what she heard the night Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend.
Stipp is the wife of an earlier State witness, Dr Johan Stipp.
Stipp, along with her husband, heard loud screams and banging noises coming from Pistorius's home.
Her husband had also been one of the first people at Pistorius's home on February 14, 2013, when he went to check on the athlete.
Stipp began her testimony by telling the court she was suffering from flu on that night, and woke up just after 3am because of a bout of coughing.
She heard loud shot-like noises coming from the house.
She then looked out of her bedroom window, and saw one of Pistorius's lights was on.
In Pistorius's bail affidavit, he said he had only turned on the lights after firing the shots through the bathroom door.
When the screaming began, she got off the bed to look towards their bedroom balcony.
The sounds of screaming continued, and she assumed it was the sound of a “family murder”.
Her husband said he wanted to find out what had happened in case any children were involved or anyone needed treatment.
By around 3.15am she heard more shots, coming from the home as her husband tried to call security.
While her husband struggled to get a hold of security, she provided the alternative cellphone number to try.
She believed six shots in total had been fired.
According to Anette Stipp, she heard a woman screaming after the first set of shots. Before the second shots, she heard two voices, a man and woman, then the second bangs were followed by silence.
She said it was her husband who could see a man moving across one of Pistorius's bathroom window, but she had not seen him.
Stipp said she didn't know who was living at the home, but even after her husband returned from the crime scene, they didn't realise it was Pistorius. All he had told her was that a man had killed his girlfriend.
Johan had been focusing on Steenkamp and hadn't realised either.
“He wasn't really talkative, he looked upset,” Stipp told the court.
At around 4am, the couple received a call from estate manager Johan Stander to tell them they should expect a call from Pistorius's lawyer.
She also told the court that on February 21 this year she also heard loud noises coming from Pistorius's home in the early hours of the morning.
The defence revealed previously this was when they had conducted their own sound tests.
Defence advocate Kenny Oldwadge began his cross-examination by asking if Stipp had discussed the events of February 13 and 14 with her husband.
She answered that it was only natural. Oldwadge said the matter was greatly covered in the press, but Stipp said she hadn't been following it religiously, nor had she watched it on television.
When asked if she had compared her versions to other witnesses, she said she had only heard snippets of other versions and thus could not.
Stipp said that her husband had told her about the gunshots, and she didn't doubt the noises were the sound of a gun being fired.
Oldwadge asked if her husband was awake prior to the gunshots, but Stipp said she only knew he was awake when she turned to him to ask about the noises they both had heard.
Oldwadge asked about Stipp hearing three noises and if she and her husband had discussed the number of shots they heard.
“We discussed the event and the trauma we felt at that time,” said Stipp, who said she couldn't remember if they ever discussed the exact numbers.
She also told the court she didn't know when her husband had made his first police statement, but that he had made another when officers came to their home for her statement.
Oldwadge argued that the pillar next to Stipp's balcony door could have somehow blocked the noise coming from Pistorius's home, meaning her aural recollection could be flawed.
Oldwadge also tried to argue that the balcony curtains were closed that night, but Stipp said she had a clear view of Pistorius's home.
Stipp said she couldn't “put a time” to the sequence of events, from when she heard the noises to when she got up, or how long she and her husband were on their large balcony.
She said she estimated that she and her husband were there for about 10 minutes, but Oldwadge said her testimony suggested she'd been there for about 15.
Stipp insisted she heard a woman screaming first, but later both male and female voices screaming at the same time.
Oldwadge asked about Stipp's “emotional state of high alertness” after hearing the screams and bangs from the home.
She affirmed to the court that she and her husband were traumatised by what had happened.
Oldwadge then moved onto the events of February 21, 2014.
Stipp said she heard two voices arguing, but that they were fainter than what she heard the night Steenkamp was shot. She also said she couldn't tell the gender of the voices.
Earlier, however, she told the court that other homes had been built between her and Pistorius's since the night of the shooting.
Oldwadge then put it to Stipp that only four shots had been fired the night of the killing, and her story of two sets of three shots did not gel with the forensic evidence.
Stipp was also only able to vaguely recall the phone calls her husband made to security, but remembered that they had discussed that he had struggled to get through.
She did remember that a security vehicle came across to their home at a later time, and her husband had spoken with them.
Stipp said her recollection was that the windows on the right hand side and left hand side - the toilet cubicle and the main bathroom - were both on that night.
Oldwadge told the court that the light in the toilet wasn't working at the time, but Stipp insisted the lights were on.
At the start of proceedings on Monday morning, State prosecutor Gerrie Nel also confirmed to the court that Pistorius's other mobile devices were handed over to the State shortly after the crime, along with those found at his home on the day of the shooting. He said all the data on all the devices had been analysed.