Thursday 26 April 2018

'Angry man' Pistorius always had gun, claims ex-lover

Oscar Pistorius in court
Oscar Pistorius in court

Aislinn Laing

Oscar Pistorius was an angry boyfriend who kept his gun constantly at his side and was jumpy about security, a former girlfriend has told his trial for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp.

Samantha Taylor said Mr Pistorius had "screamed angrily" at her "on more than one occasion", and also at her sister and both of their best friends.

The petite blonde said the Paralympian carried a gun when he was out and at home.

She told how "once or twice" he woke her in the night saying he had heard noises, and went to investigate with his gun. She also recounted how, with a gun, he threatened a motorist he believed was following him.

She claimed that on another occasion he fired his gun out of the sunroof of a car after a row with a police officer.

Ms Taylor was giving evidence on the fifth day of the trial of Mr Pistorius at Pretoria High Court for the premeditated murder of Ms Steenkamp, his girlfriend at the time, by shooting her through a locked lavatory door at his house in the early hours of February 14 last year.

Mr Pistorius says he shot the model thinking she was an intruder. The prosecution say he did so deliberately after the couple had a row.

They are likely to seize on Ms Taylor's claim that he woke her with fears about intruders since on his own account, he opened fire on Ms Steenkamp in the lavatory without first speaking to her or checking if she was still in bed.

Mr Pistorius also faces two charges of recklessly firing a gun in public.

Ms Taylor told the court how during a day out in September 2010, Mr Pistorius shot his gun through the sunroof of a friend's car after an argument with a police officer.

She said that she and the sprinter were passengers in the car of Mr Pistorius's friend, Darren Fresco, when he was pulled over for speeding.

Mr Pistorius complained furiously when one of the officers picked up his gun from the car seat, causing the bullets to fall out, she said.

She said that as they drove off, Mr Pistorius was "very angry" and he and Mr Fresco joked about shooting at a traffic light, known as a "robot" in South Africa, "out of spite".

She said a few moments later, Mr Pistorius fired a shot out of the open sunroof. Mr Pistorius has denied firing the gun.

Ms Taylor said she and Mr Pistorius began dating in 2011 when she was 17 after they met at a rugby match.

She said their relationship was turbulent and he cheated on her, first with an unknown woman during a trip to New York, and the second time when he took Ms Steenkamp to the South African Sports Awards in October 2012.


She broke down in tears when Barry Roux, Mr Pistorius's defence lawyer, told her he had emails suggesting she too had cheated on the athlete. She admitted she went to Dubai with another man when Mr Pistorius was at the London Olympics, but insisted that they had already split up.

Ms Taylor was asked if she had ever heard Mr Pistorius scream. The pitch of his scream is a key issue in the trial because several witnesses say they heard a woman scream the night of Ms Steenkamp's death but Mr Roux holds that it was him in a panic. On his account of shooting at an intruder, Ms Steenkamp would not have time to scream.

The ex-girlfriend said Mr Pistorius had screamed at her several times "in anger" but he "never sounded like a woman".

She was asked by Mr Roux if she agreed he was "a person very scared he could be attacked, very conscious of that".

"Not necessarily," she replied. "I mean, he carried a gun with him for safety, so he was aware but I don't think he was scared."

The case continues. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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