Home / Africa / Pistorius ‘on stumps when shooting’

Pistorius ‘on stumps when shooting’

Oscar Pistorius

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

A key police ballistics expert said Oscar Pistorius was not wearing his prosthetic legs when he shot his girlfriend, as the athlete’s trial continued in South Africa.

The police officer was giving evidence on the trajectory of the bullets which killed Reeva Steenkamp.

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

The prosecution says he intentionally shot her after an argument.

On day 13 of the trial, Captain Christian Mangena said analysis of the crime scene and his subsequent tests suggested that Mr Pistorius was not wearing the prostheses when he fired the fatal shots.

Correspondents say whether or not Mr Pistorius was on his prosthetic limbs when he fired his gun is important because it lends support to the defence team’s insistence that the shooting was not premeditated.


Capt Mangena also said that while he had not been able to determine the exact distance, the evidence pointed to the shots having been fired from a position greater than 60cm (23 inches) away from the toilet door but no further than 3m.

Correspondents say this is in line with the athlete’s testimony that he pulled the trigger while standing at the entrance to the bathroom.

Explaining the trajectory of the bullets, Capt Mangena said that Ms Steenkamp, 29, was standing up in the toilet cubicle when she was hit in the right hip by the first of four bullets.

Oscar Pistorius sits with his fingers in his ears in the Pretoria courtroomOscar Pistorius sat with his fingers in his ears as details of Reeva Steenkamp’s injuries were read out

He said she then fell backwards before being hit in the arm and the head by the last two bullets fired by Mr Pistorius through the wooden door as she crossed both hands over her head to protect herself.

Contradicting the athlete’s testimony that the shots had been fired in close succession, Capt Mangena said there had been a short break between the first and second shots and that the second bullet missed Ms Steenkamp.

Correspondents said this corroborates the evidence given by a neighbour who said that she heard a shot, then a pause, then three further shots.

But defence lawyer Barry Roux contested Capt Mangena’s evidence on the timing, maintaining that the bullets could have been fired in quick succession using a “double tap” technique – where the trigger is pulled in quick succession.

Capt Mangena insisted this was “impossible”, saying that if this had been the case then Ms Steenkamp’s wounds would have been in the same area of her body.

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.

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


3D impression of Pistorius house






  • ×

  • 1. 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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>