Bloodstains on walls in Pistorius’ home
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Prosecutors on Thursday displayed photos of the inside of Oscar Pistorius’ home at his murder trial, showing a court some images of the bloody scene where the double-amputee track star killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by shooting her through a toilet door. Here’s a description of the things a former police officer says he found when he responded to the shooting in the early hours of Feb. 14 last year.
DOWNSTAIRS: THE BODY, BLOOD & PISTORIUS
Former police colonel G.S. van Rensburg recalled in court that his first observation after arriving at Pistorius’ home just before 4 a.m. was that an ambulance was already there with its “rear doors open.” On entering, he saw the bloodied body of Steenkamp lying on the floor downstairs, to the left of the front door, he said. The body had black plastic bags and towels on it, which a neighbor said she and Pistorius had used to try and stop the bleeding from Steenkamp’s three gunshot wounds, according to van Rensburg. Van Rensburg said a female paramedic told him Steenkamp was already dead and he found Pistorius in the kitchen, with the neighbor.
“I asked him what happened but he didn’t answer. He was in tears,” van Rensburg said of Pistorius.
Photos of Steenkamp’s body were not shown in court, but there were photos of the blood spatter across the floor, on a wall near the kitchen and on furniture and rugs in the downstairs part of Pistorius’ Pretoria villa.
UPSTAIRS: MORE BLOOD
Following the blood, van Rensburg went up the staircase. There was more blood on the stairs and the shiny silver bannister, and some spots on a white wall right next to a shelf holding some of the Olympic runner and Paralympic champion’s glittering trophies. The “trail of blood,” as van Rensburg called it, led to the top of the stairs, across a landing, into a small lounge and eventually into Pistorius’ bedroom.
BEDROOM: AIR RIFLE
There was a black air rifle and a small baseball bat just inside the door of Pistorius’ bedroom. Next to them was a glass cabinet with around 20, maybe more, sets of slick sunglasses. Inside the bedroom, a duvet was strewn on the floor next to the bed along with a pair of denim jeans. There was blood on the carpet and more blood smeared across the mirror on a box of watches on a table. Van Rensburg said police recovered a magazine of ammunition from the room.
There was an overnight bag that apparently belonged to Steenkamp, with a black bra and black trousers on top. Van Rensburg testified that he also “specifically remembers” finding a pair of white sandals, also apparently Steenkamp’s, placed neatly together near the bed.
The bedroom door had been damaged and dented in places, photos showed, something yet to be explained by either side.
BATHROOM: THE GUN
A spent bullet cartridge was found outside the bathroom, van Rensburg testified, in the carpeted corridor between bedroom and bathroom. Three other cartridges were on the floor of the bathroom. Also, there was a blood-soaked towel on the floor, a cricket bat Pistorius says he used to bash down the toilet door to get to Steenkamp, and wooden splinters from the door.
Pistorius’ gun was lying on a toweling mat near the toilet cubicle, its hammer drawn back and the safety off. It was ready to fire and the mat it lay on was unusually clean considering the blood around it, chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel noted. Other images showed tiles had come off the bathroom wall and were on the floor and a metal panel on the wall was damaged. Prosecutors allege that Pistorius killed Steenkamp after a loud fight.
A black cellphone was right next to the silver and black 9 mm pistol, lying just outside the small toilet cubicle where Steenkamp was shot.
Gerald Imray is on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP