PRETORIA: Graphic photos of Oscar Pistorius’s blood-splattered home were presented at his trial on Thursday, with the prosecution arguing that the nightmare scene showed he and Reeva Steenkamp fought before she died.
The prosecution used grizzly police pictures and testimony from Colonel Giliam van Rensburg to follow a trail of blood from the entrance hall where Reeva Steenkamp’s lifeless body lay covered, up the stairs to the toilet where she was shot.
In the blood-soaked bathroom a pistol lay wrapped in a grey towel beside an iPhone.
The state argues the 27-year-old runner shot his girlfriend in a fit of rage following an argument, firing at his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a locked toilet door.
The defense has revealed that it will argue Pistorius shot Steenkamp by mistake and then tried to break open the door with a cricket bat.
The prosecution is positioning to argue that the couple were fighting and Pistorius fired the gun after beating the door.
Pistorius claims he mistakenly shot Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, believing her to be a burglar.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel noted a dented silver panel in the bathroom and a hole in the runner’s bedroom door, as he painted a picture of a broader confrontation.
Earlier in the day Pistorius may have kicked the toilet door to intimidate Steenkamp, Nel suggested.
“Let’s speculate, you were asked to speculate. Could it be to scare someone? Is that possible?” Nel asked during his re-examination of forensic expert Johannes Vermeulen.
“It’s possible,” said Vermeulen. “If we speculate, it’s possible.”
Last year during the athlete’s bail hearing, Nel claimed Pistorius opened fire after he and Steenkamp had an argument and she fled to the bathroom.
“She couldn’t go anywhere. You can run nowhere,” Nel said. “It must have been horrific.”
Trail of blood
In his opening testimony, Van Rensburg started the photo evidence with the athlete’s tiled lounge area, furnished with a brown and white cow hide rug and a wooden wine rack, where there were circular drops of blood on a beige sofa.
The trail of blood continued up the staircase, past a yoga mat — in his affidavit the runner said Steenkamp was doing yoga before she went to bed — into the athlete’s bedroom.
In the entrance to the main bedroom, Pistorius had a clear case full of colourful sunglasses and a black air rifle propped on the door.
Inside the bedroom, a fan stood by the balcony windows, and a black Virgin Active gym bag, Steenkamp’s overnight bag, was sitting on a sofa.
Pistorius says he went to bring the fan in from the balcony when he heard a noise coming from the toilet, thinking an intruder was in the house.
Looking at the last photo of the day, a picture of the bloody toilet, Desiree Myers, one of Steenkamp’s friends, lowered her head, her hands clenched together, shaking.
“Oh my God,” said another one of Steenkamp’s friends, sitting in the audience.
Pistorius vomited earlier in the day when photos of Steenkamp’s body accidentally appeared on the television monitors in the courtroom.
When court adjourned, his sister Aimee rushed over to the dock carrying a bright green bucket, placing it at the athlete’s feet.
No end in sight
Amid speculation that the March 20 end date to the trial is unrealistic, the prosecution revealed that preparations have been made to allow the trial to sit two weeks longer than planned.
Assistant prosecutor Andrea Johnson said they had been informed the court can sit until April 4, if the case has not concluded before then.
Around a dozen witnesses for the prosecution have so far been called, with the case coming to the end of its second of three weeks.
Still more state witnesses are expected to testify, before the defence gets to call its own witnesses — including Pistorius himself.
The two sides then have to wrap up their arguments.
Given the current pace of proceedings, that is unlikely to happen in the five days remaining. AFP