Oscar Pistorius trial: Forensic analyst says athlete 'was on his stumps' when he smashed locked toilet door with a bat

Bullet-marked toilet door displayed in courtroom on eighth day of murder trial

Oscar Pistorius was 'on his stumps' when he tried to smash down his locked toilet door with a cricket bat to reach girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, his murder trial heard.

Police Colonel Johannes Vermeulen told the court the marks made on the toilet door through which Ms Steenkamp was shot are consistent with a person swinging a cricket bat from a lower height.

"The marks on the door are actually consistent with him not having his legs on and I suspect they must be similar to the height that he was when he fired the shots," Lt Col Vermeulen, a forensics expert, told Pretoria's High Court.

This appears to contradict Pistorius’s bail application, where he claimed that, after shooting through the cubicle door, he "rushed back into the bedroom, screamed for help, and put on" his prosthetic legs.

He returned to the bathroom and struck it with the bat after he realised the 29-year-old model and law graduate was locked inside.

During cross-examination, defence counsel Barry Roux argued that Pistorius struck the door with a "bent back" and the lower marks are consistent with his position.

Lt Col Vermeulen insisted it was an "unnatural and uncomfortable" position.

Mr Roux countered: "That's an unnatural position for you."

Mr Roux asked Lt Col Vermeulen to get down on his knees and lift his feet- causing him to lose his balance. Mr Roux argued Pistorius would have not been able to maintain his balance on his stumps and hit the door at the same time.

Lt Col Vermeulen claimed that, if Pistorius managed to shoot through the door without his prosthetic legs on, he could have smashed the door on his stumps. He insisted that the marks were made by someone much shorter than him.

The athlete's defence argued that a mark on the bottom of the door showed Pistorius tried to kick open the door using his prosthetic legs. Lt Col Vermeulen said it was plausible.

Mr Roux also accused the police of contaminating crucial evidence, and painted a picture of a sloppily conducted investigation, suggesting the crime scene had been contaminated.

The court heard that police left footprints on the shattered door and then wiped them off, and that the pieces of the door that had broken off had gone missing.

Lt Col Vermeulen said his investigations didn't look into whether Pistorius had first kicked the door, before striking it with the cricket bat.

Mr Roux said that his own forensics team had found fibres from the sock Pistorius was wearing still embedded in it.

"It doesn't make sense to me – we all know about the importance of the door – to leave pieces behind," Mr Roux added.

The door has been viewed as crucial evidence in the case, and was removed from the athlete's home in the hours after he shoot Ms Steenkamp. The marks on the door could determine the angle and height from which Pistorius fired.

Pistorius's defence team questions forensic evidence suggesting the athlete was wearing his prosthetic legs when he hit the lavatory's door with a cricket bat The athlete's defence argues Pistorius was on "his stumps" when he shot through the locked lavatory door fearing there was an intruder in the house.

State prosecutors claim Pistorius deliberately shot through the door knowing Ms Steenkmap was inside following a domestic dispute.

Earlier, Darren Fresco, a one-time friend of Pistorius who was identified by two witnesses as being with the athlete on two occasions when a gun was fired in public, painted a picture of a man with a passion for guns and speed.

The IT engineer claimed that, in one occasion, Pistorius was driving at 200 km/h and that he had taken a picture of the speedometer to prove it. The athlete’s defence argued Mr Fresco was driving the car and, therefore, was fabricating evidence in court.

Yesterday, Mr Fresco told the court he asked the athlete if he "was f***ing mad" after Pistorius fired a shot out of the sunroof of a car following an altercation with traffic police.

During cross-examination, Mr Roux questioned his version of events arguing Samantha Taylor, Pistorius' former girlfriend, who was also in the car that day, told the court both Mr Fresco and Pistorius said they wanted to "shoot a robot" and laughed.

Mr Fresco said he could not remember saying that.

Mr Fresco also told the court Pistorius asked him to take the blame after his gun, a Glock 27 .40 calibre pistol, went off under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in a separate incident in early 2013.

READ MORE: DAY 1:  PISTORIUS PLEADS NOT GUILTY 
DAY 2:  REEVA STEENKAMP'S BRAIN SEVERELY DAMAGED 
DAY 3:  PISTORIUS ASKED FRIEND TO 'TAKE BLAME IN GUN INCIDENT' 
DAY 4:  NEIGHBOUR HEARD SHOTS, WOMAN SCREAMING 
DAY 5:  PISTORIUS 'CHEATED ON ME WITH REEVA' 
DAY 6:  PISTORIUS VOMITS IN COURT AFTER AUTOPSY DETAILS SHOWN
DAY 7: PISTORIUS "F***ING MAD' AFTER SHOOTING INCIDENT
OSCAR PISTORIUS TRIAL INFOGRAPHIC

Mr Fresco said he told the sprinter he was "one up"- meaning there was a bullet loaded into the chamber of the gun - before passing him the gun. He said he knew of Pistorius' "big love' for guns and assumed he "had competency with it".

Last week, Pistorius pleaded not guilty of murdering Ms Steenkamp, claiming he shot her in a case of mistaken identity thinking she was an intruder.

Prosecutors argue he intentionally shot and killed  his girlfriend following a domestic dispute. If convicted of murder he will almost certainly receive a life sentence, with a minimum term of 25 years.

The case continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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
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: Software Tester

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software Tester is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Developer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The Company sells mobile video advertising sol...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have a vacancy within our ra...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - 1st Line Helpdesk - West London - £25,000

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - 1st Line Helpde...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project