Oscar's ex gives details of relationship

2014-03-07 15:08
Oscar Pistorius in the North Gauteng High Court. (Sapa)

Oscar Pistorius in the North Gauteng High Court. (Sapa)

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Pretoria - The State’s other case against Oscar Pistorius was developed further on Friday morning when Samantha Taylor, a former girlfriend of the athlete gave testimony.

While Pistorius is on the stand for murder after shooting and killing Reeva Steenkamp in February 2013, he is also being tried for contravening the Firearms Control Act on three separate occasions. During one of those occasions, Taylor - who was only 17 years old at the time and spending up to four days a week in Pistorius’s house - was present when he fired off a shot through the sunroof of a car.

According to her testimony, she was in a car with Pistorius and Darren Fresco (the same man who was present when he set off a gun inside Tasha’s restaurant in Melrose Arch) when they were stopped by the police for some reason.

The gun was out in the open, and when an officer touched it to unload it of the ammunition, he provoked rage in the athlete.

This, said Taylor, led to him wanting to “shoot a robot”, and then setting off a round out of the sunroof. Then Fresco and Pistorius laughed.

When Pistorius pled before the court on Monday, he denied firing the shot through a sunroof - and his advocate repeated the denial on Friday.

However, Taylor was adamant.

No witnesses

The State is attempting to find Pistorius guilty of murdering Steenkamp, which means that it must find that he had intention to kill her when he pulled the trigger.

Of course, there are no witnesses to the actual shooting as there were only two people in the house that night, and one of them is the deceased.

But the other cases brought against him are meant not just to give him a fine for contravening the gun law, but build a picture of a hot-tempered and dangerous individual who would not be above violence.

Taylor’s testimony, as part of the “character witnesses”, helps to build that picture for the state. Pistorius is being cast as a machismatic, aggressive and paranoid person.

She recounted how he would be very loud and angry around her, always carried a gun, kept two separate cellphones and cheated on her.

They broke up on two occasions because of his infidelity. (As an aside: Taylor's mother  has said in the press that she is happy that her daughter no longer sees that man.)

She also recounted another incident when a mysterious car followed them around, prompting Pistorius to leap out of his vehicle and tap on the window of the other with his gun.

Details of the relationship

Taylor withered several times under Advocate Barry Roux’s cross-examination, as private and intimate details of their relationship were combed over by the defence.

Court adjourned twice to allow her to recompose herself after she spoke of Pistorius cheating on her with Steenkamp.

The defence revealed that it had e-mail correspondence between the couple showing otherwise, but chose not to read them in much detail.

This would have been a huge relief for Taylor. (And a major annoyance for the tabloid press.)

That Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp is not disputed.

It is the reason why that has landed him in trial.

For the court to fully make up its mind about that, it has to ask about the kind of person he is. This will not be the last time that apparently peripheral and yet personal details of the athlete’s life will be divulged and debated in the North Gauteng High Court.

Earlier in the day, Dr Johan Stipp, a radiologist who was one of the first people on the scene, finished giving his testimony.

In spite of strong pushback from Roux, he stuck to his story: He heard screaming and shots on the night and saw lights that were on in the Pistorius house.

He said that the second volley of sounds he heard could not have been a cricket bat striking a door, as the succession of the bangs was too rapid for that.

Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  barry roux  |  crime  |  pistorius trial

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