Fan 'blows away' Oscar's version

2014-04-10 21:10
(Picture: Alet Pretorius)

(Picture: Alet Pretorius)

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Pretoria - "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius lied about fetching a fan from his balcony before killing his girlfriend, the prosecutor in his murder trial said on Thursday.

In his second day under cross-examination, Pistorius told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria he did not deliberately fire the shots that blasted through a locked bathroom door and hit Reeva Steenkamp in the hip, arm and head.

"Do I remember firing four shots at the door? No, I don't... I remember pulling the trigger and rounds going into the door," Pistorius said.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel demanded to know if Pistorius had fired his 9mm pistol deliberately.

"I didn't mean to pull the trigger so in that sense it was an accident," Pistorius replied, after earlier also protesting his innocence on two lesser charges relating to him discharging guns in public.

Pistorius notably claimed that he never touched the trigger of a friend's Glock pistol that went off in his hand in a packed restaurant in January 2013, a few weeks before he killed Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day.

"I know my finger wasn't on the trigger," Pistorius said.

But the prosecutor countered that it was an indisputable fact that it was impossible to set off that particular make of firearm without pressure on the trigger and Pistorius was therefore trying to convince the court of a "miracle".

"I'm putting it to you that you are lying," Nel said.

This became a refrain as he relentlessly sought to dismantle Pistorius's defence, and turned to the Paralympian's claim that on 14 February he was busy moving an electronic fan when he heard a suspicious noise that prompted him to fetch his firearm and fire at the door in panic.

According to Pistorius, he had brought the fans into the bedroom, closed the sliding doors leading onto his balcony and drawn the curtains.

He has told the court that once he realised with dread that it may have been Steenkamp he shot, and not an intruder, he ran onto the balcony and shouted for help three times.

Fan blocking door

Nel asked Pistorius to look at a police photograph of his bedroom taken in the aftermath of the shooting, showing a tripod fan in front of the open sliding doors, and to spot the problem it presented.

After some pause, Pistorius said: "The fan couldn't possibly have been there because it's in the way of the doors opening."

Nel replied: "Indeed, indeed. I agree. Because your version is a lie. You never closed the curtains in the first place... That door was open when you and the deceased got into an argument."

At this, Pistorius's defence lawyer Barry Roux objected, saying the State had no evidence of an argument but Nel said he would produce circumstantial evidence to prove it.

The defence has made a case that the police tampered with evidence, and Pistorius returned to the argument in his testimony on Thursday, telling Nel investigators had moved several objects in his Pretoria home.

Nel asked: "Let's just sum this up. A policeman moved two fans, put the duvet on the floor and opened the curtains wider than it should be?"

Pistorius responded: "That is correct, My Lady," prompting Nel to ask whether he suspected conspiracy.

The prosecutor also suggested he would prove that Pistorius was lying about connecting the two fans to an extension lead next to his bed, partly because their cables were not long enough.

Pistorius said it was possible if the extension cord were pulled deeper into the room.

Nel stated emphatically that it had not - possibly linking to his statement to Pistorius on Wednesday that one of the two plug openings had already been taken up by the charger for his hair clippers, which was visible next to his bed on photographs.

"You are trying but it is not working. Your version is so improbable that nobody would ever reasonably think it is true."

‘Self-centred and abusive’

Earlier, he had called into question Pistorius's character.

Nel said the athlete who was seen as role model around the world had been self-centred and abusive towards Steenkamp.

He read out transcripts of text message that spoke of turmoil in the relationship and asked why Pistorius responded with recriminations when Steenkamp complained that his criticism had left her feeling hurt and humiliated.

"I'm the girl who fell in love with you and wanted to tell you this weekend," Nel quoted Steenkamp as writing, and asked Pistorius why he did not reply to that sentiment.

"Wasn't that a significant event in your relationship? Why didn't you deal with that? You didn't care.

"You blamed her. Because it's all about Mr Pistorius. That's what your relationship was about."

Nel also accused Pistorius of subjecting the Steenkamp family to a public spectacle by starting his testimony with a tearful apology from the stand, but stopping short of saying he was sorry for shooting dead the blonde model.

"The words 'I'm sorry I killed your daughter' were never in your apology... You didn't think how they would feel sitting in a public court."

"Why weren't you humble enough to do it in private?"

- SAPA
Read more on:    gerrie nel  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  pistorius trial  |  crime
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