Oscar’s bloody night

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IOL ss outh Africa Pistorius Trial~20 (40668083)

AP

An image taken from the court pool TV via AP showing a police photograph of Oscar Pistorius standing on his bloodstained prosthetic legs and wearing shorts covered in blood, taken shortly after the athlete fatally shot his girlfriend. The footage was shown to the court in Pretoria at his murder trial yesterday.

Johannesburg - Bare-chested, with blood drenched all over his shorts and prosthetic legs, this dramatic image shows a shell-shocked Oscar Pistorius moments after he killed his girlfriend.

The first police officers on the scene found the Paralympian pacing around in a “very emotional state” and a grisly trail of blood throughout the house.

The images were taken by police photographers in the garage in the aftermath of the shooting in the early hours of Valentine’s Day last year. In one, Pistorius, shirtless, stands facing the camera wearing his prosthetics. There are bloodstains up to the knees of his limbs and his shorts are bloodied, but his naked chest appears to be clean.

A second photograph shows Pistorius from the waist up from the left side, showing blood on his shorts and parts of his body, with a tattoo visible on his back.

His left arm is smeared with blood and his hand is clenched.

The court was guided through the images – and other graphic scenes including the blood-spattered toilet where Steenkamp was shot – by former police colonel Schoombie van Rensburg who arrived at the house about 40 minutes after the shooting. Van Rensburg said he did not arrest Pistorius immediately after discovering Steenkamp had been shot dead, but warned him to remain at the house.

“I told him I observed him as a suspect at that stage. I warned him of his rights. I said to him I wasn’t arresting him at that stage… I requested him to remain present at all times at the scene.”

Van Rensburg said the runner’s brother, Carl, sister, Aimee and a lawyer soon arrived at the house.

The prosecution says Pistorius intentionally killed Steenkamp after a loud argument and tried to cover it up by saying he thought the model, 29, was a dangerous intruder.

Pistorius, 27, maintains it was an accident and has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

During cross-examination, defence lawyer Barry Roux sought to undermine the police investigation, questioning the conduct of former investigating officer Hilton Botha, who was thrown off the case last year and resigned from the force. Roux repeatedly asked Van Rensburg what Botha was doing at the scene during the probe.

Botha admitted last year he had not worn proper forensic clothing and shoe covers when he examined parts of the scene and Pistorius’s team believes police disturbed and may have tampered with evidence.

“You did not disturb anything in the bathroom? You did not see (Botha) disturb anything in the bathroom?” Roux asked. “Were you acutely aware that you should not disturb the scene? Did you have that awareness? And what was Botha doing?” he asked later. And again, Roux said: “Where was Mr Botha now?” Van Rensburg said at points he did not know where Botha was.

While in the bathroom, Van Rensburg said he turned to see that the firearms expert had handled the gun Pistorius used and removed the magazine without using gloves. “I asked him ‘what are you doing?’” The officer realised his error, apologised, put the magazine back in the gun and laid it on the mat on the floor, he said.

Van Rensburg insisted the crime scene was kept safe and the front door was sealed after each day’s work. He told how they removed the door through which Steenkamp was shot from its hinges to take to to the police station. This was done the day after the shooting.

Van Rensburg said he knew the media were offering big money for pictures of the door.

“The door is the most valuable evidence exhibit on the scene.”

Van Rensburg said his team assured him there would be no problem in assembling the door again.

They got the biggest body bag they could find and placed the door in it. As they carried it the loose panels were shifting about. At the office there was no place to keep it as it was Friday, so it stood in a passage. “I found it in the passage. It was still sealed, so I decided to take it to my office.”

Van Rensburg was grilled about the differences in the pictures taken on the scene. In one picture a duvet lay crumbled on the floor and in another it was spread open. Steenkamp’s overnight bag was on the couch in the bedroom in one picture, but in another it was on the floor, with flip flops next to it.

Van Rensburg also testified about eight expensive watches found in a bedroom upstairs.

Pistorius’s sister asked if she could take one of the watches, leaving seven in place, he said.

But Van Rensburg said another went missing while he was out of the room, prompting him to order the frisking of all the police forensic experts on the scene, as well as a search of their bags and vehicles, and the entire house.

Van Rensburg opened a case of theft after the watch was not found.

The trial continues. - Daily Mail


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