Saturday 16 December 2017

Pistorius 'had a love of weapons', friend tells murder trial

Aislinn Laing, Pretoria

Oscar Pistorius had a "big love of weapons" and reacted furiously when a policeman touched his gun after pulling him and his friend over for speeding, a court has heard.

Darren Fresco said that he knew the paralympic athlete "very well" and believed him to be "competent with guns" since he had grown up with them.

He is the 11th witness to give evidence in the trial of Mr Pistorius (27) for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria in the early hours of St Valentine's Day last year.

The athlete claims he fired four shots through the locked lavatory door because he believed Ms Steenkamp was a burglar. Prosecutors say he did so after the couple had a row.

Mr Fresco was asked by Gerrie Nel, the prosecutor, about two separate incidents relating to two additional charges Mr Pistorius faces of recklessly firing a gun in public, both of which he denies.

In the first incident, the shooting of a gun in a crowded restaurant in Johannesburg called Tasha's, Mr Fresco said Mr Pistorius repeatedly asked him to pass him his Glock pistol under the table.

He warned the sprinter that the gun had a bullet in the chamber but it went off, prompting the restaurant manager and his wife to rush over.

Mr Fresco claimed Mr Pistorius told him he didn't want any more "media hype" around him and asked him to take the blame.

"As a friend", Mr Fresco said, he agreed to do so "with pleasure", telling the restaurant manager that he had accidentally dropped the gun from the pocket of his shorts.

The court has already heard evidence about the second shooting incident from Samantha Taylor, Mr Pistorius's ex-girlfriend, who told how Mr Pistorius had fired out of the sun roof of a car out of anger at being pulled over by police for speeding.


She told how he and Mr Fresco, who was driving, laughed after he fired the shot.

But Mr Fresco said this was not true – he had not expected the shot and reacted with shock, asking Mr Pistorius if he was "f–king mad".

"He just laughed about it," he told the court.

Mr Fresco said Mr Pistorius had reacted angrily after they were pulled over by police – it was suggested to the court that he had been driving at 160mph – and one of the officers picked up his gun from the car seat.

He said Mr Pistorius became angry and an argument ensued that went "on and on".

"The accused said 'you can't just take another man's gun'," he said.

The case continues. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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