Witness 'heard Pistorius house row'

  • Last Updated: February 20 2013, 21:23 GMT

A witness heard "non-stop shouting" coming from Oscar Pistorius' home before he shot his girlfriend dead, a court heard in Pretoria.

Oscar Pistorius: Back in court in Pretoria
Oscar Pistorius: Back in court in Pretoria

The witness overheard the "row" which is said to have come from the property at the exclusive Silver Lakes Golf Estate between 2am and 3am on Valentine's Day, the prosecution said.

Shortly afterwards, Reeva Steenkamp, 29, lay bleeding to death in Pistorius' bathroom.

She was hit by three bullets - one in the head, the hip and arm, Pretoria Magistrates' Court heard.

One witness reported hearing a shot, followed 17 minutes later by more shots, lead detective Hilton Botha said.

"One of our witnesses heard a fight, two people talking loudly at each other... from two in the morning to three," he said, adding that the witness was about 1,000ft away.

Pistorius has admitted shooting the model with a 9mm pistol pulled from under his bed, but claims he did so thinking she was a burglar or burglars, who were in the bathroom.

He adds that he opened fire in the dark because he was too scared to turn a light on.

Realising his mistake, he broke the door down with a cricket bat and carried her downstairs, he said.

Mr Botha said there was "no way" he believed Pistorius's version of events and a witness told police Pistorius' lights were on after hearing gunshots.

The runner has said he shot through the door while on his stumps.

But the court heard the bullets' trajectory was through the top of the door and Mr Botha claims the bullets were fired down, suggesting Pistorius was wearing his prosthetic legs when the shots were discharged.

He said: "I believe he knew she was in the bathroom and he shot four shots through the door."

Lawyers and police studied plans of the bedroom and bathroom along with chief magistrate Desmond Nair.

A projector was used to beam the plans up for the public and press to see.

The court also heard that two boxes of testosterone and needles were found in Pistorius' bedroom.

But his lawyer Barry Roux countered prosecution claims that testosterone was found, saying it was actually a herbal remedy, called Testocompasutium co-enzyme.

Details were released of a row he had with a man over a girl at Kyalami racetrack where Pistorius allegedly threatened to "f*** up" the rival.

It was also claimed he was involved in another shooting at a restaurant in Johannesburg in January and asked the gun owner to take responsibility for the accident.

Pistorius told officials he had been a victim of crime and received death threats, but today the court heard there was no record of this.

Mr Botha said he wanted Pistorius charged additionally with a weapons violation after unlicensed .38 calibre ammunition was found at the house.

The athlete - who sobbed in court - made notes with a silver pen as the case progressed.

In an affidavit, Pistorius said he and Miss Steenkamp were in love and he thought she was in bed in the early hours of Thursday when he got up in the dark and blasted through the door.

Cross-examining Mr Botha, Mr Roux said a post-mortem examination showed Miss Steenkamp's bladder was empty, which he said is consistent with her getting up at 3am to go to the toilet.

Mr Roux asked repeatedly why the police did not make simple checks - over the lighting and whether Pistorius had other phones after police said two seized iPhones were not used to call police or paramedics.

The lawyer said Pistorius phoned the housing complex manager for help at 3.19am then Netcare hospital a minute later.

The police discarded anything that might have been consistent with a defence, said Mr Roux.

Officers found the victim covered in towels and wearing white shorts and a black top.

The prosecution believe Pistorius, who won two gold medals and a silver at London's 2012 Paralympic Games, is a flight risk and is opposing bail.

Pistorius, who underwent below-the-knee amputations when he was 11 months old, has offshore accounts and a property in Italy, it was claimed.

And despite him being a world-famous athlete, Mr Botha said he believed he could still go on the run, drawing laughs from the court.

The case was adjourned to 11am on Thursday (9am GMT), when a decision over bail might be made.

Outside the red-brick building the Women's League of the ruling African National Congress protested, waving placards saying "No Bail for Pistorius" and "Rot in jail".

The case has stunned sports fans worldwide.

But it has been felt most acutely in South Africa, where Pistorius was seen as a hero who transcended racial divides that persist nearly 20 years after the end of apartheid.

He carried South Africa's flag at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics, and American magazine Sports Illustrated named him as one of the most inspiring figures of the year.

The sprinter's endorsements and sponsorships included Nike, telecoms firm BT, sunglasses maker Oakley and French designer Thierry Mugler and were thought to be worth as much as two million US dollars (£1.3 million) a year.

Nike and Mugler both said they have dropped Pistorius from advertising campaigns, and Clarins cosmetics giant said it was recalling its A Man perfume range out of "respect and compassion towards the families involved".

Pistorius' family said in a statement that they were "satisfied" with the court hearing.

They said Botha confirmed during cross-examination that the ballistic and forensic evidence was consistent with the defendant's version of events.

The family "trust that everyone has more clarity on this very tragic event", the statement read.

But they said contradictions in Botha's evidence were "extremely concerning".

Arnold Pistorius, the athlete's uncle, said: "Oscar was not using any drugs listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency banned substances, usage of which would ban him from competing in athletics competitions.

"The IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) will have records of every single drugs test that was undertaken in and out of competitions. He has been tested on a number of occasions during the last couple of years and he has never failed a drug test to date."