Pretoria - What website did Oscar Pistorius visit on the eve of Valentine’s day last year, while he and Reeva Steenkamp were supposedly spending a loving evening alone together.
Was this possibly a factor which led to the shooting later, when Pistorius fired at the toilet door where Reeva was?
Will the State be able to prove, as it now claims it can, that Pistorius – who was not wearing his prosthetic legs – shot and killed Steenkamp because of an argument?
These are some of the questions which are expected to be answered early next month when the Blade Runner goes on trial in the Pretoria High Court for Steenkamp’s murder.
The State, in its response to the request by the legal team of Pistorius for further particulars as to what the case against Oscar is, listed 13 points in which it said it would prove that he had a motive and the direct intention to kill Steenkamp.
Point four on the list reads: “The accused’s website activities from the time that he got home is in direct contrast to that of a loving couple spending time together.”
The prosecution states that they had, during their investigation, obtained statements from some of Steenkamp’s friends, which deal with the “conduct of the deceased during the relationship (with Pistorius)”. The state did not elaborate on this point.
And what exactly did Pistorius’s neighbour, Estelle van der Merwe, who lives diagonally opposite Pistorius’s home in Silver Woods estate, hear that night?
The State will rely on her evidence in which she claimed that during the early hours of that fateful morning, she heard “talking like fighting”. She was under the impression that the woman was arguing with someone before the shots were fired.
The State says two other witnesses heard a woman scream before shots were fired, while Johan Stipp and his wife Anette, who also live in the complex, will testify they heard shots, then the screams of a woman, followed by further shots. They will testify that the screams died down at the same time of the last shots.
In spite of now conceding that the double amputee was on his stumps at the time of the shooting, and that Steenkamp was dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, the State is still confident it can prove that Pistorius committed premeditated murder – that he intentionally shot Steenkamp and not, as he claims, that it was a terrible accident because he mistook her for an intruder.
In its answers to the defence, the State said the amount of trajectory and grouping of the shots fired through a locked door indicated a direct intention to kill the person behind the closed door.
The State said on his own version, Pistorius armed himself, walked to the bathroom and shot through the closed door without ascertaining who was behind the door, or whether he faced danger.
It was said that the presence of cellphones in the bathroom militates against a version that Steenkamp innocently went to the toilet during the night.
The State said the version of Pistorius that he feared an intruder was in his home, was not reasonably possibly true. “It is the State’s case that he shot and killed the deceased with direct intention, but then fashioned a version when he saw the opportunity,” the document read.
The State said Pistorius’s version was so far fetched, that it couldn’t reasonably be true and his actions that night were contrary to a person thinking there was a burglar in the house.
Pistorius, during his bail application, said in an affidavit he “took his firearm and walked to the bathroom.” The State said this was an indication that he “readied himself”, firstly by locating his firearm and then, while armed, going directly to the bathroom. “The only reasonable inference is that the accused knew that the firearm was ready to be fired. He either kept it loaded and cocked at all times, or subsequent to arming himself… loaded and cocked the weapon”.
The State told the defence that even on his own version, Pistorius fired when he reached the bathroom, without asking any questions.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel stated that on Pistorius’s own version, he never established if the “burglar” posed a threat of any kind and he “thus had a clear intention to kill the burglar.”
It is said that on the facts available to the State, the motive of Pistorius was to “kill Steenkamp as the two had argued”. The State, however, admits it does not have any details regarding the argument.
It is the State’s case that Pistorius intentionally shot and killed Steenkamp, that he then “fashioned a defence” and phoned his friends.
He never phoned the police or the estate security, the State said.
It is claimed that security staff called him and when asked by the guard whether everything was in order, he apparently indicated that he was fine.
Pistorius, however, is not expected to waver from his argument and maintain that it was all a terrible accident, as he genuinely believed an intruder was in his home that night.
Pretoria News Weekend