'Shouting preceded shooting'

Prosecution challenges Pistorius affidavit

A witness heard "non-stop shouting" in the home of South African athletics star Oscar Pistorius shortly before his girlfriend was shot dead, the detective leading the murder investigation said on Wednesday.

Warrant officer Hilton Botha, a detective with 24 years on the force, also told the Pretoria magistrates court in a bail hearing that police had found two containers of testosterone and needles in Pistorius' bedroom. The athlete's defence team disputed the finding.

Pistorius, a double amputee dubbed "Blade Runner" because of his carbon fibre racing blades, sobbed uncontrollably as Botha presented his testimony about the death of Reeva Steenkamp, 29.  The law graduate and model was in the toilet of the athlete's home when she was shot dead in the early hours of Feb 14 — Valentine's Day. She was hit in the head, arm and hip.

"One of our witnesses heard a fight, two people talking loudly at each other ... from two in the morning to three," Botha told the court. Pistorius' first call after the incident was to the manager of his high security complex at 3.19 am, Botha said.  After four hours of testimony, the hearing was adjourned until Thursday. The hearing is expected to conclude this week, after the defence and prosecution have outlined their central arguments. It may then be several months before a trial. If convicted of premeditated murder, Pistorius faces life in jail.

Botha, who arrived on the scene an hour after the shooting, challenged Pistorius' affidavit, in which he said he thought an intruder was in the house.  "I believe he knew she was in the bathroom and he shot four shots through the door," the detective said, adding the angle at which the rounds were fired suggested they were aimed at somebody on the toilet. Pistorius had said he moved into the bathroom on his stumps - the reason he felt so vulnerable - but Botha said the shots went in a "top to bottom" trajectory, suggesting Pistorius was wearing his artificial legs when he pulled the trigger.

"It seems to me it was fired down," he said. 

One of the spent rounds was recovered from the toilet bowl, Botha said.  He also cited a witness on the upscale gated community near Pretoria where Pistorius lived as saying he heard a shot, followed 17 minutes later by more shots. Another witness spoke of a shot, followed by screams, followed by more shots, he said.

After vigorous questioning from Pistorius' defence team, Botha estimated the distance between the witnesses and Pistorius' home at 300 metres.

Lead defence counsel Barry Roux also disputed Botha's reference to "testosterone", saying the substance was a legitimate herbal remedy called "testo-composutim co-enzyme".

Details on the makeup of testo-composutim co-enzyme were not immediately available but administering testosterone as an anabolic agent is banned at all times under World Anti-Doping Agency rules for sports people.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry