Oscar Pistorius murder trial: Documentary set to undermine evidence on row on night Reeva Steenkamp was killed

Barristers will pick over the evidence against the athlete accused of murdering Reeva Steenkamp

Evidence that neighbours of Oscar Pistorius heard him arguing with his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, just hours before he shot and killed her is undermined in a documentary to be broadcast tomorrow night.

In the second of two Channel 5 documentaries to be aired tomorrow, a day before Pistorius appears in the dock for a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday, two of South Africa's top barristers use experts and a full-size reconstruction of Pistorius's bathroom and bedroom to dissect the evidence on which his fate hangs, dismissing claims that neighbours heard the couple rowing.

Immediately before that, in Why Did Oscar Pistorius Kill Our Daughter?, Ms Steenkamp's parents say that their daughter told them the couple were arguing, and explain why they feared for her safety. For the first time they will also show her painting of a gunman, an angel and a stairway to heaven – images that they claim were a "premonition".

Pistorius, who is currently on 1m Rand bail (£65,000), became the first double-amputee track athlete to compete in the Olympics when he raced in London last year. He killed Ms Steenkamp, a model, in the early hours of Valentine's Day at his Pretoria home.

He says he mistook her for an intruder and shot her four times, hitting her in the head and arm, while she was in the bathroom. Prosecutors say the killing was premeditated. If found guilty, the one-time Paralympic poster-boy would receive a very lengthy jail sentence.

The prosecution must provide a motive to have him convicted of premeditated murder, and part of that case relies on two witness statements saying the couple were arguing. But, in Pistorius Trial: The Key Questions, on Monday at 10pm, those statements from neighbours living 300 metres from the athlete's home, are called into question. Technology used to measure the noise impact of new train lines suggests that voices arguing could not be heard from 300 metres away, but only from a distance of about 50 metres.

Two barristers, Estelle Kilian acting for the prosecution and Marius Du Toit for the defence, agree this witness evidence is likely to be undermined. But, the documentary says, unsubstantiated claims that the pair had sent texts to others could still provide a motive.

It has been alleged that Pistorius sent texts to another woman of a "flirtatious nature" after he had begun his four-month relationship with Ms Steenkamp, which might provide a motive, while Ms Steenkamp, 29, is said to have been trading messages with a previous boyfriend. Why she took her mobile phone to the bathroom – where it was found by police – in the middle of the night is also under scrutiny.

The documentary also asks whether it is plausible that Pistorius, 26, didn't notice Reeva was not in bed before he started shooting. An illumination engineer backs Pistorius's claims that it was "pitch black" and he could not see that Ms Steenkamp was not in bed as he manoeuvred around the bed to get his 9mm pistol and confront the supposed burglar.

But Laurie Peters, a criminologist, says the fact that he didn't check whether Reeva, whom he shot four times while she was in the bathroom, was in bed or not was illuminating. She says: "He didn't even bother to find out where Reeva was before he fired blindly into the dark. That would be a red flag to me because psychologically the first thing you would do is find the people you want to protect."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Operations Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am currently recruiting for an Operati...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, Security Cleared

£100 - £110 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Ham...

Senior Digital Marketing Executive

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

Junior Developer- CSS, HMTL, Bootstrap

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading company within the healthcare ...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz