Wednesday 20 March 2019

Housekeeper for Pistorius 'slept through' Reeva killing

Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Reuters
Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Reuters
Emotional Kayla Nolan, left, is comforted by her mother Lynette Nolan after meeting Oscar Pistorius upon his arrival at the high court in Pretoria. AP
Oscar Pistorius, right, is comforted by his brother, Carl Pistorius, inside court in Pretoria
Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria

Aislinn Laing

A Malawian housekeeper who was at the home of Oscar Pistorius on the night Reeva Steenkamp was killed "heard nothing" and will not be called by either the state or the defence team to give evidence in the athlete's murder trial.

Frank Chiziweni is understood to have slept in the domestic quarters next to the Paralympian's kitchen on the ground floor of his home on a secure estate outside Pretoria.

On the night Pistorius shot Reeva, neighbours up to 170 metres away claimed they were woken by sounds of an argument, shots and screams and a man shouting for help.

Pistorius told the court during his evidence that he screamed and shouted at the intruder he believed was in his home, as well as screaming to his girlfriend to call police.

After he realised she was behind the locked lavatory door into which he fired his gun four times, he said he opened his balcony doors to call for help before beating the door down with a cricket bat.

"I was crying out. I was screaming 'Reeva, Reeva'," he told the court. "I was overcome with terror and despair. At times I was screaming, at times I was crying out."

Mr Chiziweni, the closest person to the events of St Valentine's Day 2013, is understood to have told police that he slept through the incident.

He was mentioned by name for the first time yesterday, just over two months after the start of the 27-year-old athlete's trial for the premeditated murder of his girlfriend.

Carice Viljoen, a friend of Mr Pistorius whose father he rang moments after shooting 29-year-old Steenkamp, said when she arrived at the house, 'Frank' was standing in the road with the estate security guards.

The housekeeper has been mentioned in several profiles of Pistorius written before the shooting. In one, in October 2011, he is described being asked by Pistorius, who addresses him as "brother", to bring him his prosthetic legs. In another, written the following year, he is referred to as a "live-in caretaker who keeps his home spotless".

A policeman who arrived at the scene an hour after the shooting confirmed that Mr Chiziweni had been sleeping in a room off the kitchen and was awake when they arrived. He said the man spoke good English. "We said to him, 'You were here. What did you hear?' " the policeman said, adding that he had replied: "No, no, no, I didn't hear anything."

He said police had been unconvinced by his response: "We were all asking ourselves how he could not have heard anything," he said.

Another policeman at the scene said the housekeeper told detectives that a water feature next to his room had masked any sound from the main house.

Barry Roux, Mr Pistorius's barrister, said the defence would not be calling Mr Chiziweni.

Although Mr Chiziweni was listed as a prosecution witness, a source for the state said it would not be calling him, confirming that he told police in his statement he heard "absolutely nothing".

Anneliese Burgess, a spokesman for the Pistoriuses, said Mr Chiziweni still worked for the family. Pistorius denies her murder.

The case continues. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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