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Tuesday 20 February 2018

Pistorius gun 'on bloodied floor'

Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock as he listens to cross questioning about the events surrounding the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock as he listens to cross questioning about the events surrounding the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
Forensic investigator Johannes Vermeulen speaks during a cross examination by Barry Roux, the lawyer defending Oscar Pistorius, at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Thursday, March 13, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius sits with his head in his hands during his murder trial in Pretoria (AP)
The athlete looked distressed at several points during proceedings (AP)

The Oscar Pistorius murder trial has been shown p hotographs of his gun lying on a mat on the blood-stained floor of his bathroom as the court was given a detailed picture of the scene where he killed Reeva Steenkamp.

One of the first two police officers to arrive at the house to investigate the shooting testified that he followed a "trail of blood" when he got there.

Former police colonel GS van Rensburg said he traced spots and bigger blood marks downstairs where Ms Steenkamp lay dead from three gunshot wounds and followed them across the floor, up the stairs, through a small lounge area and then into Pistorius's bedroom.

Mr van Rensburg told how he then finally reached the bathroom where the athlete shot his girlfriend in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

There, Mr van Rensburg said he found Pistorius's gun, hammer back and the safety off, on a mat. There were also spent bullet casings, mobile phones and a blood-soaked towel on the bathroom floor, and the cricket bat Pistorius says he used to break down the toilet door.

In the toilet cubicle, there was a darker pool of blood and the wooden splinters where the locked door, through which Pistorius shot the model, had been bashed through.

Pistorius, 27, faces a possible life sentence if convicted of murder. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him and says he shot the 29-year-old by mistake, thinking she was an intruder. Prosecutors contest that he intentionally killed her.

Details in the photos were highlighted by the prosecution as part of their case against Pistorius.

One was a gun holster on the side of the bed where Pistorius says Ms Steenkamp, and not him, was sleeping that night. The gun rested on a small towel that was clean and out of kilter with the blood stains around it, head prosecutor Gerrie Nel noted. The size of the bedroom suggested Pistorius had to walk close to where he says he thought Ms Steenkamp was still sleeping to get to the bathroom.

As Mr van Rensburg, who resigned from the police force last year, was led through each photograph by Mr Nel, Pistorius mainly kept his head down in court and appeared to avoid looking at the TV monitors where the images were shown. The screen next to Pistorius was switched off.

Mr Van Rensburg confirmed that the photos reflected accurately how he found the scene when he got there just before 4am on February 14, 2013 - about 30 to 40 minutes after prosecutors say Pistorius shot Ms Steenkamp.

The photos provided vivid images. Blood stains from the severe wounds he inflicted on his girlfriend were splattered on a white wall close to a group of glittering trophies in the multiple Paralympic champion's home.

Upstairs, there was a black airgun rifle and a blue baseball bat near the door to Pistorius's bedroom. Pictures of the bedroom showed a cabinet with multiple sets of sunglasses and a box of watches, as well as blood stains on the carpets and even across a mirror on the watch box.

The photos in the bathroom showed that tiles had come off the wall and were on the floor and a metal panel had been damaged, apparently after being hit by a hard object. Prosecutors allege Pistorius killed Ms Steenkamp after an argument.

Mr van Rensburg also described how, on arriving at Pistorius's house, he saw Ms Steenkamp's body near the entrance downstairs covered in towels and plastic bags that the daughter of the estate manager said she had used, with assistance from Pistorius, to try and stop the bleeding. Administrator Johan Stander is the first person Pistorius says he called after the shooting.

A tearful Pistorius was "emotional" and pacing in the kitchen, Mr van Rensburg said. The policeman said he asked the athlete what had happened, but he did not answer. Mr van Rensburg said he asked him to stay in one area of the kitchen, which he did.

Police investigator Hilton Botha also arrived at the home, where bloodstains were visible downstairs on the floor, armchairs, a rug and a wall near the kitchen, according to Mr van Rensburg, who said that soon after he arrived a female paramedic informed him Ms Steenkamp was dead.

"We then followed the trail of blood up the stairs," Mr van Rensburg added.

Press Association

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