Was Reeva Steenkamp ready to leave Oscar Pistorius’s home in a fit of rage the night she was shot and killed? Was Pistorius screaming at her through a bathroom door, telling her to “Get the f*** out of (his) house?”
This was the assertion by Gerrie Nel, for the State, who put it to the Paralympian that Steenkamp was standing up, facing the door and speaking to Pistorius when he fired the first shot, hitting her in the hip, followed by three more shots.
Pistorius said he did not know why she was facing the door, but denied he knew she was there.
“It was all an accident… I blame myself (that) I took Reeva’s life,” a tearful Pistorius said.
He broke down, sobbing uncontrollably, as he told the court that, gun in hand, he had told the “intruder” to “Get the f*** out of my house”.
But Nel shot back: “Isn’t that what you shouted at Reeva, and why you got emotional?”
Pistorius’s emotional state prompted Judge Thokizile Masipa to adjourn proceedings briefly.
Focusing on the bedroom, Nel said Steenkamp appeared to be a neat person, as all her clothes were folded and in her overnight bag on a sofa next to the bed.
But a pair of Steenkamp’s jeans were the anomaly.
“Why were all her other clothes, apart from these and the jeans, packed into an overnight bag?” Nel asked.
When Pistorius could not answer, Nel put it to him: “She wanted to leave… and you shot her.”
When Pistorius became emotional for the third time on Monday, Nel accused him of using his “emotional state” as an escape to get out of difficult situations when he was in a corner.
Several times Nel told Pistorius he was not telling the truth, his version was improbable and he was tailoring his evidence to build up a version as he went along.
Pistorius’s answers were mostly: “I don’t know… I cannot remember, I made a mistake.”
He said his legal team omitted to put certain statements to witnesses, and the police moved items in the bedroom.
While Pistorius insisted that the duvet was on the bed that morning, the State was set to prove it was on the floor. Nel zoomed in on pictures, showing a blood spatter pattern on the floor, which continued on the edge of the duvet. Nel said he would argue that the spatters were caused when Pistorius carried the bleeding Steenkamp past that area in the bedroom.
“Why did Reeva not ask where you were going when you got out of bed to, on your version, bring the fans in? Why did you not in your bail application and in your plea explanation say you heard the bathroom window slide open, bumping against the frame?”
Nel said this was a vital part of Pistorius’s case, as it was at this point he feared an intruder was in his home, yet he had only mentioned it now. Pistorius did not have answers and said he “was not sure or did not know” why these facts were omitted.
While neighbours said they heard a woman screaming that morning, Pistorius was adamant he was the only one screaming for help.
Told that Dr Johan Stipp and his wife, Annette, had seen the bathroom light on shortly after the shots, Pistorius said they must have been lying.
Asked why he did not fire a warning shot before shooting four times at the toilet door, Pistorius said he did not know.
He could also not explain why Steenkamp had not switched on the bathroom light when she went to the toilet, saying she probably used the light of her cellphone.
Told by Nel that he would have seen the light in the pitch dark, Pistorius said he had his back towards the bathroom at the time.
After shooting and discovering that Steenkamp was not in bed, Pistorius said he had become frantic and looked around for her in the bedroom before he tried to break the toilet door open.
He was at a loss for words when Nel asked him how he knew Steenkamp was behind that door and whether he did not consider the possibility that she had fled out of the bedroom door.
Nel has spent days going through each detail of Pistorius’s evidence in chief.
He pointed out on Monday that so few of these details were present in his bail affidavit and plea explanation that it was evident that Pistorius had “invented” them for an advantage in court.
Pistorius returns to the stand on Tuesday.