American forensic specialists investigate Oscar’s bullet-holed bathroom door

2013-10-04 00:00

THE American forensic specialists who will help Oscar Pistorius’s legal team with their investigations conducted an independent investigation of the bathroom door through which Pistorius shot Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day earlier this year.

National police spokesperson Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale said in a statement the specialists had made earlier arrangements with the police investigation team to visit Pistorius’s home in Silver Woods Estate in the east of Pretoria. “The aim of the visit was to give them access to the bathroom door to recreate the crime scene.”

He said it was the second time that members of Pistorius’s legal team had conducted such an investigation in the police’s presence, who included, among others, the investigations officer and a ballistics expert. The door cannot be removed from the scene of the crime.

Makgale said they did not investigate any other physical evidence.

Pistorius family spokesperson Anneliese Burgess earlier this week confirmed the Americans’ presence. She said it was standard practice to work with experts during the preparation for a trial.

Dr David Klatzow, an independent local forensic scientist, said it was to be expected that they would bring in overseas forensic help, because South Africa’s forensic expertise was not up to standard.

If the specialists’ focus was on ballistics, they would be checking the angles at which the rounds penetrated the door, as well as the trajectories and the height at which the shots were fired.

“They will be able to say where Oscar stood when he fired the shots,” Klatzow said. In his bail hearing, Pistorius stated that he had felt threatened without his prosthetic legs when he shot at what he thought was a burglar in his house, while the state argued that the shooting was premeditated, as Pistorius had first strapped on his legs before shooting.

Burgess had not reacted to requests for comment at the time of going to press.

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