Saturday 27 December 2014

Pistorius 'fired four shots in downward trajectory'

Aislinn Laing Pretoria

Published 19/03/2014 | 02:30

Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius arrives at court yesterday ahead of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius arrives at court yesterday ahead of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
June Steenkamp, mother of Reeva Steenkamp, waits for proceedings to begin yesterday in the trial of Oscar Pistorius for the murder of her daughter
Oscar Pistorius (centre) surrounded by media as he left court in Pretoria yesterday

The trial of Oscar Pistorius, pictured, for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp has heard from a police ballistics expert that the athlete fired four pistol rounds low into the bathroom door while standing on the stumps of his legs.

Captain Christiaan Mangena used metal rods and then a laser beam to determine the trajectory of the shots Mr Pistorius fired, shining the laser through the bullet holes in the door to show where the ricochet damaged tiles inside the lavatory.

He concluded yesterday that the bullets – the uppermost of which struck the door at just over 3ft from the ground – were fired on a slightly downward trajectory from a distance of about 7ft.

The ballistics expert said that only one of the four shots ricocheted inside the lavatory, hitting the wall twice and breaking the tiles.

"The other three bullets disappeared somewhere between the door and the wall," he said, adding that he believed that they had hit the "target" straight away.

Ms Steenkamp was shot three times: once in the head, once in the hip and once in the elbow.

The Paralympic athlete (27) is charged with the premeditated murder of Ms Steenkamp (29).

Mr Pistorius insists he shot his girlfriend accidentally, thinking she was an intruder, and that he broke down the door with a cricket bat to get to her after realising what he had done.

Prosecutors contend that Mr Pistorius killed Ms Steenkamp after an argument.

Captain Mangena's testimony about the downward trajectory of the shots could potentially be seized on by the defence to show that Mr Pistorius had no intent to kill the person inside the lavatory.

The defence is also expected to say that the distance between Mr Pistorius and the door when he fired could prove that he took up a defensive rather than aggressive position.

The case continues. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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