Prosecutor claims Reeva wanted to leave Pistorius

By Tom Peck, Maria Tadeo

Oscar Pistorius arrives at court in Pretoria, South Africa. Photo / AP
Oscar Pistorius arrives at court in Pretoria, South Africa. Photo / AP

Reeva Steenkamp wanted to leave Oscar Pistorius's house when the couple got into an argument and the athlete shot her dead, chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel told his murder trial.

"Why would she leave her jeans on the floor if everything else is in her overnight bag?," he told Pretoria's High Court. "She wanted to leave, and you weren't sleeping, you were both awake and there was an argument."

Pistorius responded that Ms Steenkamp was neat and the jeans were inside out, which, according to the athlete, showed that she wasn't in the process of putting them on.

The prosecutor continued to pick holes in his version of events arguing Ms Steenkamp ate her last meal two hours before she was shot dead in the early hours of 14 February.

"That is, as far as your case is concerned, devastating for your version that eight hours after she was killed, there was still that amount of food in her stomach," he told the court.

"I put it to you that she must have eaten within two hours of her death".

Returning to the witness box after three dramatic days of cross-examination, Pistorius said he "did not have an explanation" for it and insisted the couple had dinner together at around 7pm, before adding: "I think it is improbable that she ate after that."

Mr Nel fired back: "It's not improbable, it's impossible, because it would have triggered the alarm. This particular point, I put to you, is devastating for your version because it's an objective set of facts. It cannot fit into your version of events."

Video: Raw: Tense exchange during Pistorius testimony

The court was also shown blood spatter on the floor of Pistorius's bedroom, and on the duvet on the floor, which he claims had been on the bed until police officers arrived at the scene and moved it.

On the blue light on Pistorius's amplifier, which the athlete claims he had been about to cover with Ms Steenkamp's jeans, it was put to him that the amplifier has many lights when switched on.

"You have to create time, in your version," Nel said. "You have to build a time gap for Reeva to get to the bathroom. That's why you invented the blue light."

"I'm not trying to create time," Pistorius said. "The state is trying to create time in its case. [Ex-girlfriend and state witness] Samantha Taylor said it takes four minutes for me to put my legs on. I did it in court. It takes 30 seconds.".

Mr Nel also questioned why the athlete did not give fuller details of his account in his bail statement last February.

At the time, Pistorius said heard a noise from the bathroom that caused him to think an intruder had entered the house, but did not explain until later that it was the sound of a window sliding open and slamming against the frame that made him panic and fire at it.

Pistorius said he was on medication and traumatised while in a jail cell at the time of his bail statement, which could account for any discrepancies with his later evidence.

The athlete broke down in tears as he told the court he screamed at perceived intruders to "Get the f**k out of my house!" before shooting Ms Steenkamp dead, prompting Judge Masipa to adjourn the session so that he could compose himself.

Just over an hour later and after court resumed, Pistorius broke down again when replying to a question on why he had opened fire at the door, causing a second adjournment as he cried: "I didn't fire at Reeva".

Later, Mr Nel noted that the athlete did not fire a warning shot. The truth, the prosecutor argued, is that Pistorius shot to kill and that his target was Ms Steenkamp.

Pistorius's story has come under intense scrutiny from Mr Nel, who accused the athlete of lying and tailoring his version of events. The state argues the 29-year old model and law graduate "ran screaming" to the bathroom after the couple had an "argument" before the athlete shot her three times.

Pistorius denies murdering Ms Steenkamp, claiming he shot and killed her in a case of mistaken identity thinking she was an intruder after he heard the noise of a "window sliding open" and a door slamming, which convinced him someone had entered his gated community mansion in Pretoria.

There are no juries at trials in South Africa and Pistorius's fate will ultimately be decided by Judge Masipa, assisted by two assessors.

The case continues.

- UK Independent

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