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Pistorius ballistics expert in court





















Oscar Pistorius









LIVE: Coverage of murder trial of Oscar Pistorius. May include graphic evidence








A key police ballistics expert is giving evidence at the murder trial of South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius in Pretoria.

Capt Christian Mangena is explaining the trajectory of the bullets which killed Reeva Steenkamp last year.

Mr Pistorius denies murdering his model girlfriend on Valentine’s Day 2013, saying he thought she was an intruder.

The evidence may help show whether he was wearing his prosthetic legs at the time of the shooting.

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Correspondents say this is important because it could support parts of his account that he shot Ms Steenkamp at his house in the capital, Pretoria, in the early hours of 14 February 2013 by accident.

The prosecution’s case is that Mr Pistorius deliberately shot Ms Steenkamp – a 29-year-old model, reality TV star and law graduate – following an argument.

So far, the defence has pointed out several errors by police investigators, including an officer handling the suspected murder weapon without gloves and another stealing from the house.


Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar PistoriusOscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a toilet door

If found guilty, the 27-year-old Mr Pistorius – a national sporting hero and double amputee dubbed the “blade runner” because of the prosthetic limbs he wears to race – could face life imprisonment.

The trial is expected to call on more than 100 witnesses. It had been set to last for three weeks, but looks likely to be extended.

There are no juries at trials in South Africa, and his fate will ultimately be decided by the judge, assisted by two assessors.





INTERACTIVE


3D impression of Pistorius house



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  • 1. Balcony


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    Balcony

    Mr Pistorius said in his statement at the start of the trial that he woke in the early hours and walked on his stumps to the balcony, pulled in two fans, closed the sliding door and drew curtains. He said that shortly before he had spoken to Reeva, who was in bed beside him.

    He said he rejected prosecution claims that a witness heard arguing coming from the house before the shooting.



  • 2. Bathroom noise


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    Mr Pistorius said he heard the bathroom window sliding open and believed that an intruder, or intruders, had entered the bathroom through a window which was not fitted with burglar bars.

    “Unbeknown to me, Reeva must have gone to the toilet in the bathroom at the time I brought in the fans,” he said.

    Mr Pistorius said he approached the bathroom armed with his firearm, to defend himself and his girlfriend, believing Ms Steenkamp was still in bed.



  • 3. Shooting


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    Both sides agree four bullets were fired. Ms Steenkamp was hit three times.

    Mr Pistorius said he fired his weapon after hearing a noise in the toilet which he thought was the intruder coming out of the toilet to attack him and Ms Steenkamp.

    He said he was in a fearful state, knowing he was on his stumps and unable to run away or properly defend himself.

    Mr Pistorius said he rejected claims that he was on his prostheses when he shot at the door.

    A witness told the trial she woke to hear a woman screaming and a man shouting for help. She said that after the screams she heard four shots.



  • 4. Bedroom


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    At his bail hearing last year, Mr Pistorius said he went back to the bedroom after shooting at the toilet door, then noticed Ms Steenkamp was not in bed.

    Mr Pistorius said he then realised she could have been in the toilet.



  • 5. Toilet door


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    Mr Pistorius said he went back to the bathroom but the toilet was locked, so he returned to the bedroom, pulled on his prosthetic legs, turned on the lights before bashing in the toilet door with a cricket bat.


    Forensics expert Johannes Vermeulen told the court that the height of the marks on the door caused by the cricket bat suggest Mr Pistorius was on his stumps at the time.



  • 6. Emergency calls


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    Mr Pistorius’s defence team has said he then called security at the gated housing complex and a private paramedic service before carrying Ms Steenkamp downstairs.

    But security guard Pieter Baba told the trial he had called Mr Pistorius first, in response to neighbours’ reports of gunfire, and not the other way round.


    He said Mr Pistorius had told him: “Everything is fine,” before calling him back a few minutes later and crying down the phone.


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