Reeva likely shot dead before ever telling Oscar she loved him

2014-04-15 18:00

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Oscar Pistorius likely shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp before she ever got the chance to tell him she loved him.

In what was a surprisingly brief cross-examination session today, Barry Roux, Pistorius’ lawyer, had the athlete read out the Valentine’s Day card Steenkamp had asked him on February 13 last year to only open the next day.

A choked-up Pistorius said Steenkamp wrote: “I think today is a good day to tell you I love you.”

This was likely the first time that Steenkamp would have told Pistorius she loved him.

During cross-examination, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the police had conducted a search for the word “love” on Steenkamp’s phone and it had only been used in messages to her mother.

It was the second time that Steenkamp had been unable to tell Pistorius she loved him.

The first was when the couple had a row in January, less than a month before Steenkamp was killed.

“I’m the girl who fell in love with u and wanted to tell u this weekend but I’m also the girl that gets sidestepped when you are in a s**t mood,” said Steenkamp in a January 27 WhatsApp message to Pistorius last year.

Roux today only briefly re-examined Pistorius, after Nel kept the murder-accused Paralympian on the stand for three full court days.

Roux spent only 12 minutes re-examining Pistorius, sparking conjecture in legal circles that Roux did not want any further damage done to Pistorius’ case.

The questions were limited to the athlete’s testimony about hearing the toilet door being kicked shut, what he understood by the term “accident” and whether he had consciously fired the gun.

Later in the day, Roux called forensic expert Roger Dixon, who testified about the tests he had conducted at Pistorius’ house.

Dixon testified that he could not see his “hand in front of his face” when all the lights were turned off in Pistorius’ bedroom.

He also testified about the defence’s third bat mark on the door.

Colonel Johan Vermeulen, the police’s forensic expert who testified about the door, previously testified that he had not matched this mark to the bat.

But Roux later produced a police photo that showed Vermeulen holding the bat to the third mark.

Dixon testified that the door must have been hit three times, which is consistent with Pistorius’ version.

He also disputed Captain Chris Mangena’s evidence, who testified that Steenkamp had been hit in the hip before falling into a defensive position, with her arms over her head.

Mangena said the second bullet had missed her, but the third and fourth had struck her in the arm and head while she was in a seated position on the magazine rack.

Bullet fragments from the second bullet, which hit the walls, had caused two abrasion marks on her back.

But Dixon testified that he “cannot conceive of a scenario” where the wounds in question were caused by a ricocheting bullet.

He testified that the marks had to have been caused by Steenkamp falling with her back against the magazine rack.

Skin abrasion and vertical striations on the wounds were proof that the wounds had been caused by contact against a hard surface from the bottom of her back upwards.

This is important because Mangena’s version of events creates a pause between the first shot and subsequent shots.

This is consistent with state witness Michelle Burger’s testimony, as well as Nel’s argument that Pistorius shot Reeva intentionally, then heard the noise of the magazine rack and fired again in that direction, changing his aim further to the right.

On the defence’s version, the shots would have been in “rapid succession”, and Steenkamp would have fallen to the ground much faster.

Dixon also testified that injuries cause by wood splinters on the door confirmed that Steenkamp had probably been no more than 20cm from the door, with her right arm “possibly” reaching for the door.

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