Oscar trial: ‘The thing I remember most is the screaming’

2014-03-24 14:44

A third witness has testified that she heard the “terrified screams” of a woman at the same time as she heard the shots, which the state argues killed Reeva Steenkamp.

Anette Stipp, an occupational therapist and the wife or Dr Johan Stipp, who testified earlier in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, today told the court: “The thing I remember the most, and I don’t think I will ever forget, is the screaming.”

This testimony links to the evidence given by witnesses Michelle Burger and Charl Johnson, who both said they had heard bangs, followed by screaming and another set of bangs interspersed with screaming.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel argues Steenkamp was “alive and screaming” before the shots (the second set of bangs) that killed her.

This means that Steenkamp was screaming before the fatal shots, casting doubt on Pistorius’ claim that he had acted in self-defence.

But Pistorius’ defence disagrees with this version of events.

His legal team has argued that the first set of bangs were the shots and that the second set was the sound of Pistorius breaking down the toilet door with a cricket bat.

They also say the screaming in between the two sets of bangs was actually Pistorius, who, in a state of heightened anxiety, sounded like a woman.

Under cross-examination, Kenny Oldwage, one of Pistorius’ lawyers, has questioned whether Anette Stipp would have had a clear view of Pistorius’ house, where she claims she saw the bathroom light on.

Stipp had testified that she was awake because she was feeling “fluish”, and that she looked at the alarm clock at 3.02am.

She says shortly thereafter she heard the first bangs and the screaming.

When she looked out of her balcony door across to Pistorius’ home, she saw that the bathroom light was on.

But Oldwage has questioned how Stipp would have been able to see this, given that the tie-back curtains that flank the balcony door are being held back by an officer in a police photo.

“The point is, for this photo to be taken, you had to move the left curtain” said Oldwage.

Stipp replied that the police photo was not taken from her vantage point in the bed, but was taken from the other side.

She said she had no idea that Pistorius was involved in what she had heard until much later.

“I am part of a WhatsApp chat group and [the next morning] all the girls started sharing their Valentine’s stories. I then said we had a pretty crappy start to ours.”

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