Family surprised by shots

2013-11-15 00:00

KIMBERLEY — On Good Friday last year, Deon (44), Christel (43) and Marthella (14) Steenkamp were surprised by a gunman, possibly firing from the passage, as they peacefully sat watching TV and playing on the computer.

They were shot dead with their own weapons in their farm house near Griekwastad in the Northern Cape.

That was the dramatic picture advocate Hannes Cloete painted as he closed the state’s case against the teenage accused, who is charged with the three murders, the rape of Marthella and the attempted obstruction of justice.

Blood splatter expert Captain Marius Joubert was questioned by Judge President Frans Kgomo about the order in which the shots were fired.

The Steenkamps would have leapt up if they heard shots. But they were relaxed when they were shot, he commented.

Joubert said Christel was shot from behind, in the back, and Marthella then seems to have got up. She was initially shot in the right breast.

Deon, a big man, may have tried to stand up from the couch and was shot under the right shoulder as he bent over.

He was then hit on the head with an unknown object.

The wounded Deon and Christel were not dead yet, but were killed by shots to the head from a .22 firearm.

On Thursday, Joubert explained how Marthella, bleeding profusely, tried to get to the telephone.

Joubert said he found it strange that weapons, especially a sought-after .357 revolver, would have been left at the gate by intruders.

Defence advocate Willem Coetzee asked him if the 10 blood spatters found on Marthella’s T-shirt could have landed there from coughing, speaking or breathing, rather than through violence.

Joubert conceded that it was possible, but added that no blood was found in Marthella’s throat, meaning she could not have coughed up blood.

There was blood under her nose and in her mouth, but her teeth still looked white, Joubert said.

The accused maintains that only Marthella’s blood was wiped on his T-shirt, not any other bloodied object.

Joubert said, however, that there were three separate big blood splashes on his T-shirt. These splashes, which had definite outlines, were not from another body part being wiped there, nor from a bloodied victim brushing against him or slipping down his body.

If the T-shirt was wadded up, blood could only have been transferred if it was soaked through.

Coetzee put it to Joubert that no DNA of the accused was found on the weapons. He put it on record that the boy does not deny handling the firearms.

The case continues on Monday, when the defence will call its own witnesses.

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