Police photographer: Evidence was moved

2014-03-17 14:45
Police photographer Bennie van Staden testifies at the Oscar Pistorius murder trial

Police photographer Bennie van Staden testifies at the Oscar Pistorius murder trial

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Oscar's trial - day 11 lunch report

2014-03-17 13:51

Correspondent Sipho Hlongwane speaks about day 11 of Oscar Pistorius's trial in the North Gauteng High Court. Watch. WATCH

Pretoria - Bullet casings, a cricket bat with blood on its tip and a bloodied towel were moved so as to be more visible when police photographs were taken in Oscar Pistorius's house, the North Gauteng High Court heard on Monday.

Police Warrant Officer Barend van Staden said at Pistorius's murder trial that he took the first round of photographs on 14 February 2013, the night Pistorius shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He took another round of pictures, moving some of the items so they could be more visible in the photographs.

"So you moved items on the scene?" asked prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

"That is correct, My Lady," said Van Staden who was called to the scene at Silver Woods estate in Pretoria.

Blood spatter on duvet

In those pictures, cones marked out evidence such as a 9mm cartridge case and other items he observed such as a black-coloured fragment.

He opened out the duvet he found on Pistorius's bedroom floor to see if there was blood on it and snapped a picture of what appeared to be a blood spatter.

He showed a picture of the autographed cricket bat Pistorius said he used to break the toilet door to free Steenkamp, showing its brand, Lazer.

He turned it over and took another of the bat to show the autographs on it and the blood at its tip.

In addition to pictures of wood splinters found at the scene, including one in a bloodied toilet bowl, he saw a phone protruding out of a towel on the bathroom floor.

This was photographed by someone wearing blue gloves and given to investigating officer Hilton Botha, who was taken off the case and has since resigned from the police.

Van Staden said: "During my investigations, My Lady, I moved the towel and I saw the phone."

He picked it up to see if there was any other evidence.

He placed the towel in the corner bathtub.

Crime scene album

The court was also shown pictures of a stack of ladders in the yard near the downstairs lounge window.
Circled was a window that was broken but there was no broken glass to be seen, Van Staden said.

He said he did not consult anyone when compiling the crime scene album.

He also moved the magazine rack from the toilet cubicle, again to make evidence more visible and to make it easier to photograph.

When he moved the magazine rack, he found more fragments and marked them as exhibits.

He also photographed a bullet on a towel and said this was the bullet that came out of the chamber of the 9mm when the fingerprint expert was making it safe.

Pistorius is accused of the premeditated murder of Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

He shot her through the closed door of his toilet, apparently believing she was an intruder.

In addition to the murder charge, Pistorius is charged with contravening the Firearms Control Act. He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

On 30 September 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Read more on:    gerrie nel  |  reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  pistorius trial  |  crime

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