Oscar Pistorius week 3: Athlete 'broke all the rules' the night he shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead

 

“Know your target and what lies behind,” read Oscar Pistorius’s handwriting on his Firearms Competency Certificate, which was shown to the court at the start of the third week of his murder trial.

Whether he did or didn’t know what lay behind his toilet door is the only real matter at hand. But certainly, he knew the rules.

Police ballistics expert Captain Christian Mangena painted a gruesome picture of Reeva Steenkamp’s final moments behind that locked toilet door, with bullets fragmenting and ricocheting, and splinters of door and fragments of her own bones causing her further injuries, before a bullet struck her in the head and killed her.

State Prosecutor Gerrie Nel shocked the court on Wednesday lunchtime, by requesting an adjournment for the rest of the week, ‘ in the interests of justice’, and indicated he will call only ‘four or five’ more witnesses, and the state will conclude its case early next week.

What happens next is uncertain. When the state is done, the defence will begin its case, and if Pistorius is to be called to testify, he is obligated to do so at the start, but his team have indicated they don’t know yet whether Pistorius will appear next week.

Meanwhile, the athlete has put the house where he shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp on the market, hoping for a quick sale in the region of £300,000 to meet his rising legal costs. He has never returned there since the shooting on Valentine’s Day last year.

Some South African legal experts have suggested that the state may not make a case sufficient to prove the athlete’s guilt ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, before the defence has even begun, and as such they may seek to have the case thrown out. It seems unlikely such a request would be granted.

In her final moments, Reeva Steenkamp had her arms crossed around her head, as she tried to protect herself from bullets fired by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius through the locked cubicle door, the athlete's murder trial heard.

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Police ballistics expert Captain Christian Mangena painted a gruesome picture of Ms Steenkamp's death inside Mr Pistorius's toilet, with bullets fragmenting and ricocheting, and splinters of door and fragments of her own bones causing her further injuries, before a bullet struck her in the head and killed her.

Captain Mangena said she was facing the door when Mr Pistorius opened fire. “That [first] bullet penetrated and broke the hip bone of the deceased. If the hip bone is broken completely, it causes her to fall down, she would not have been able to stand,” he told the court.

Captain Mangena said the bullet that struck her head broke into two fragments, causing extensive damage. He said the second shot missed Ms Steenkamp, hitting the cubicle and causing it to break into pieces, bruising her back. He could not determine the order of the last two shots. Defence counsel Barry Roux suggested wounds on Ms Steenkamp's back came from a magazine rack.

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