Sunday 28 December 2014

Pistorius broke down toilet door 'without his prosthetics'

Aislinn Laing in Pretoria

Published 13/03/2014 | 02:30

A policeman takes part in the reconstruction of the hitting of the door with the cricket bat during the trial of South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius
A policeman takes part in the reconstruction of the hitting of the door with the cricket bat during the trial of South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius

OSCAR Pistorius was not wearing his prosthetic legs when he broke down the lavatory door through which he had shot dead his girlfriend, a police forensics expert has claimed, contradicting the athlete's own version of events.

Col JG Vermeulen, the police forensic expert, said he had determined that Mr Pistorius had swung a cricket bat at the door while standing on his stumps. Mr Pistorius has said he fired four times at the locked lavatory door because he thought an intruder was inside.

He had not put on his prosthetic legs to fire the shots, he said, but when he realised he had shot Reeva Steenkamp, he put the legs on to break down the door. Pistorius (27) is accused of murdering Miss Steenkamp (29) at his Pretoria home on St Valentine's Day last year.

The wooden door through which the paralympic champion fired the fatal shots was taken to Pretoria's high court and assembled as part of a reconstructed lavatory cubicle complete with a white porcelain lavatory and a magazine rack.

Three bullet holes could be seen running in a diagonal line beneath the gold-coloured handle, and another one below them to the right. Col Vermeulen was instructed to swing the cricket bat repeatedly at the door in an attempt to determine Pistorius's position when he did so.

Swinging the bat at shoulder height, he hit the door higher than marks he said had been made by the bat. Going down on his knees and swinging again, he hit the mark directly.

"The marks on the door are consistent with him not having his legs on," he told the court.

In cross-examination, Barry Roux, Pistorius's lawyer, argued that the athlete was wearing his legs and simply standing in a different position when he swung the bat. The case continues. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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