Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence's own witness contradicts athlete's version of events

 

Oscar Pistorius's defence received a new blow after its own expert witness contradicted the athlete's version of events and was accused of omitting crucial details in court.

Roger Dixon, a geologist at the University of Pretoria and former policeman, told the court his analysis of Reeva Steenkamp's bruises and blood marks on the bathroom floor showed that the position of the magazine rack contradicted Pistorius's version, who insists it was moved.

Referring to a graphic photograph showing a pool of blood around the toilet bowl, Mr Dixon claimed the magazine rack was close to the toilet when Ms Steenkamp was shot dead.

"Can the accused be right, if you're right? He said the magazine rack was definitely not there. Then he must be wrong. You're his witness," chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel demanded.

Last week, the athlete told the court that, in retrospect, he confused the sound of the magazine rack moving for a door opening, which convinced him an intruder was about to attack him before he opened fire. The state claims he heard the magazine move after shooting Ms Steenkamp in the hip and deliberately changed aim to hit her.

Mr Dixon was later forced to admit he used a model that was 20 centimetres shorter than Pistorius on his stumps in a series of a photographs used to illustrate what neighbours could have seen from the bathroom window the night he shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp.

"Why would you not ensure that the person on its knees stands on something, is lifted to scale?", Mr Nel demanded. "Why would you not make sure that his height is exactly the height of Mr Pistorius on his stumps?"

"It is something I omitted, I overlooked it at the time," Mr Dixon replied, insisting he was not trying to "mislead" the court. The test is important because Dr Johan Stipp, a neighbour of Pistorius, previously testified he saw a man moving in the bathroom from his house.

 

Mr Dixon came under renewed pressure from Mr Nel, who accused him of being unqualified to testify as an expert witness as he challenged the state's murder case. He conceded he had no qualifications in ballistics or pathology, and was not affiliated to a forensic body.

Returning to the witness stand, Mr Dixon wrote on Facebook: "Third day in court today. Let's see how much of my credibility, integrity and professional reputation is destroyed."

He also lashed out at "those who will not listen because it is not what they want to hear" and wrote he was looking forward to having a drink after finishing his evidence.

On Wednesday, Mr Dixon challenged the prosecution claiming Ms Steenkamp was standing at an angle to the toilet door with her hand "on the door handle", suggesting she was in the process of opening the door, when four shots struck her in quick succession.

At the start of the trial, the state's ballistic expert, Captain Chris Mangena, told the court Ms Steenkamp was standing facing the door when the first shot hit her in the hip, the second shot missed her, hitting the cubicle instead and causing it to break into pieces, bruising her back.

Ms Steenkamp then fell on top of the magazine rack in a seated position, before she was hit in the arm and head as she tried to protect herself from the bullets. Capt Mangena noted there could have been a short break between the first and the second shot, giving her time to scream.

Pistorius is accused of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp following a domestic dispute in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year. He claims he shot and killed his girlfriend in a case of mistaken identity, thinking she was an intruder.

The trial has now adjourned for a break and will reconvene on Monday 5 May.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
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

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick