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Friday 22 August 2014

Pistorius 'drew gun at home noise'

Published 17/03/2014 | 08:32

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Oscar Pistorius arrives at the high court in Pretoria where he denies the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp (AP)

Months before he killed his girlfriend, Oscar Pistorius described how he drew his gun and went into "combat mode" after hearing a possible intruder at his home, a South African firearms expert told the athlete's murder trial today.

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The noise turned out to be a washing machine, the High Court in Pretoria heard.

Sean Rens, manager of the International Firearm Training Academy in Walkerville town, also said he had many conversations about firearms with Pistorius, who is accused of murdering Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 2013.

He said the double-amputee runner had "a great love and enthusiasm" for guns.

Mr Rens said he met Pistorius in 2012 and trained at a gun range with him. He said the Olympian asked him to provide him with a revolver and was also seeking to collect other guns.

In one conversation, Pistorius described how he was startled by a noise at home and decided to clear the house by drawing his gun and checking rooms, according to Mr Rens.

"He went into what we call 'code red' or combat mode," Mr Rens said. "When he came to the source of the noise, it was the laundry or something."

Pistorius had tweeted about the incident in November 2012: "Nothing like getting home to hear the washing machine on and thinking its an intruder to go into full combat recon mode into the pantry!"

The double-amputee runner says he killed Ms Steenkamp by accident before dawn on Valentine's Day last year, shooting her through a closed toilet door after mistaking her for an intruder in his home. Prosecutors say he killed her after an argument.

Ms Steenkamp's mother, June, was in court for a second time today. She also attended the first day of the trial on March 3.

Press Association

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