Day 4: Inside the Oscar Pistorius trial

A wrap of all the court proceedings on one page

 

Oscar

 

Oscar 'was sincere in his grief' - Sapa

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius was sincere in his grief after he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

Radiologist Johan Stipp told the court he found Pistorius was emotional as he tried to revive Steenkamp at the bottom of the stairs at his Pretoria home.

"He definitely wanted her to live... He looked sincere to me. He had tears on his face," said Stipp.

Stipp lived close to the Pistorius home at the Silver Woods Country Estate where the paralympian shot dead Steenkamp on Valentines' Day last year.

He said he arrived at Pistorius's home shortly after the shooting and found Steenkamp's body lying at the bottom of the stairs with Pistorius trying to clear her airway.

Stipp said he attempted to help, but soon realised Steenkamp was dead.

"He was crying... He was praying and making promises to God. He was distraught," Stipp told the court.

In his official statement, he had described Pistorius as being "beside himself".

Listening to the testimony Pistorius appeared to be crying, clutching his hands onto his head.

His sister Aimee walked into the dock and sat next to him.

She spoke to him as he continued to cover his eyes.

He has maintained that he shot her thinking she was an intruder.

The State will try to prove that Pistorius committed premeditated murder when he shot Steenkamp through the locked bathroom door at his home.

Pistorius's lawyers will argue that he mistook her for an intruder when he shot through the bathroom door.

In addition, Pistorius is charged with the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

13:36pm: Summary of the court proceedings from 'Day 4' thus far - Tymon Smith

Oscar Pistorius was again emotional, holding his head in his hands as he, the court and members of the Steenkamp family heard evidence of a doctor who attended to Reeva Steenkamp shortly after she was shot.

Radiologist Dr Johan Stipp, a neighbour of Pistorius in the Silver Woods estate, was awoken by the sound of bangs in the early hours of February 14 2013. As a former military doctor, he identified these as gunshots.

Stipp told the court that he went to his balcony, saw lights on in Pistorius' house, then heard the sound of a woman screaming and a male's voice. His bedroom is 72m from Pistorius' bathroom.

While trying to phone Silver Woods’s security back in his bedroom, he heard three more bangs, which he thought were also shots and shouted for his wife to get to safety.

Stipp returned to the balcony and heard a man screaming three times for help. He returned to his bedroom and after consulting with his wife, got dressed and drove to security before going to Pistorius' house.

Upon arriving there, Stipp explained he was a doctor and was directed into the house by a woman, where he found Pistorius kneeling over Steenkamp's body with a hand in her mouth trying to clear her airway.

Stipp testified that Pistorius told him: "I shot her; I thought she was a burglar and I shot her." Stipp also testified that, after examining her body, he did not believe "that there was any life left in her".

Stipp also testified that, while waiting for the ambulance to arrive, Pistorius was crying and praying, promising that if Steenkamp lived, he would give both their lives to God.

Stipp left the scene once the ambulance arrived and before the police got to Pistorius's house.

He received a phone call at 4.17am from estate manager Johan Stander telling him to expect a call from Pistorius's lawyer, but this call did not happen.

Out of sensitivity to the family, photos of Steenkamp's body were not broadcast on the court monitors.

He (Oscar) was saying he would dedicate his life to God if she will only live: Stipp told court

Oscar Pistorius cried and prayed as Reeva Steenkamp lay dying in his home, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

"Oscar was crying, saying please let her live," radiologist Johan Stipp said to questioning from prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

"He was saying he would dedicate his life to God if she will only live."

Stipp, who was woken by screaming and subsequently heard gunshots, described how he drove to Pistorius's home nearby and found Steenkamp on the floor at the bottom of the stairs on the ground floor.

Nel asked him to look at pictures in a file in front of him. The images were not shown on the television screens in court.

Stipp, who told the court he was a doctor, rubbed his chin as he looked at the photos and confirmed that they were of the woman as he found her lying in the house.

He said he knelt down beside her.

"I tried to open her airway and look for any signs of life. She had no pulse in her neck and no peripheral pulse."

He said Pistorius was kneeling next to her, two of his fingers in her mouth, trying to open her airway.

"She was clenching down on Oscar's fingers," said Stipp.

"I opened her right eyelid. Her pupil was fixed, dilated and her cornea was already drying out. To me it was obvious that she was dying."

"I noticed blood in her hair and brain tissue mingled with that."

As Pistorius listened to this he bent over in the dock, his hands pressed against the back of his head.

Court adjourned for lunch at 12.50pm.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of Steenkamp. He is also charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, and two counts of discharging a firearm in public.

He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

In September 2010 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

"I was afraid Oscar would hurt himself": Stipp

Oscar Pistorius stayed at his girlfriend's side after he shot and killed her at his home on Valentine's Day last year, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

"Oscar stayed by her side," said Johan Stipp as he testified in Pistorius's murder trial.

He said he arrived at Pistorius's home shortly after the shooting and found Reeva Steenkamp's body lying at the bottom of the stairs.

Pistorius had been trying to clear her airway and had his fingers in her mouth.

Stipp, who introduced himself as a medical doctor, said he attempted to help but soon realised Steenkamp was dead.

He described the details of her injuries to the court, causing Pistorius and Steenkamp's cousin who sat in the court gallery to cry.

Pistorius sat forward, listening with his head in his hands.

Stipp testified that while he knew that Pistorius lived in the same Silver Woods Country Estate with him, he did not immediately know that he was in the athlete's home at that time.

He told the court that after he saw Pistorius go up the stairs, he asked a certain Mr Stander, who had been with the security team, whether he knew where the gun was.

Stander said he did not know where the gun was.

"I was afraid Oscar would hurt himself," said Stipp.

He said Stander said he hoped the shooting would not get into the media.

Pistorius is currently on trial for murdering his blonde-haired model girlfriend.

The State will try to prove that Pistorius committed premeditated murder when he shot Steenkamp through the locked bathroom door at his home.

Pistorius's lawyers will argue that he mistook her for an intruder when he shot through the bathroom door.

In addition, Pistorius is charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

"I shot her. I thought she was a burglar and I shot her", Oscar told Stipp

Oscar Pistorius said he thought he was shooting a burglar when the first people arrived at his house in Pretoria after he killed Reeva Steenkamp last year.

"I shot her. I thought she was a burglar and I shot her," is what Johan Stipp heard the man standing over Reeva Steenkamp's body say when he walked into the house in Silver Woods estate in Pretoria.

Stipp had heard screaming, cries for help, shots and seen a shape moving from the right to the left of the bathroom across a vacant stand from him.

He did not know it was Pistorius's house when he went in to see if he could help, introducing himself as a doctor.

He first drove to security to ask if it was safe to go to the house.

The court heard how Stipp at first struggled to get through to the guard room when he heard the screams and shots, with the call not being answered, and a "funny" sound coming through on the 10111 emergency number.

When he parked outside Pistorius's house (he found out whose house it was later), a man was talking on his cellphone and a woman at the door let him when he said he was a doctor.

Stipp saw a woman on the floor, a man next to her with one hand on the ground, two fingers over her mouth and then he made the statement.

Witness Johann Stipp heard three shots - Sapa

The third witness in the trial of murder accused Oscar Pistorius said he heard three gunshots the evening the paralympian shot and killed his girlfriend.

"I was awakened by three loud bangs. My wife asked me what it was and I said it sounded like gunshots," Johann Stipp told the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

He lives at the Silver Woods Country Estate in Pretoria, the same complex where Pistorius lived and shot dead Reeva Steenkamp.

Stipp said that on February 14, 2013, he heard screams coming from Pistorius's home.

"The woman screamed like three or four times," he said.

He then went back into the bedroom where he called security.

Stipp was the second resident of the Silver Woods Country Estate to testify in the trial that began on Monday.

The State will try to prove that Pistorius committed premeditated murder when he shot and killed Steenkamp through the locked bathroom door at his home.

In addition, he is charged with the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Pistorius's lawyers will argue that he mistook her for an intruder when he shot through the bathroom door.

Johnson concludes testimony - Sapa

State witness Charl Johnson concluded giving evidence in Oscar Pistorius's murder trial in the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel went through notes Johnson had made about the screams and gunshots he heard in the early morning of February 14 last year, when Pistorius killed Reeva Steenkamp.

"I was convinced that they were being attacked. The screams did not sound like fighting, more like panic and distress," Johnson said, referring to a woman's screams he heard around 3am.

After Johnson was excused from the stand he took his wife Michelle Burger's hand. Pistorius looked at them as they left the court through the side entrance.

Burger was the first State witness to testify on Monday. The couple's townhouse is about 170m from Pistorius's.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of Steenkamp. He is also charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, and two counts of discharging a firearm in public.

He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

In September 2010 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

11:24am: Summary of the court proceedings from 'Day 4' thus far - Tymon Smith

When he made notes on March 6 2013 about what he had heard in the early hours of February 14 that year, state witness Charl Johnson never thought they would be read in open court. However, after he had handed three versions of the notes to murder accused Oscar Pistorius's defence team, Pistorius’s advocate Barry Roux spent the first session of today subjecting Johnson's notes to intense scrutiny.

He aimed to prove that Johnson and his wife Michelle Burger had collaborated their testimonies to incriminate Pistorius.

While Roux, in dramatic fashion, kept insinuating that he would reveal incontrovertible evidence of this, Johnson stuck to his guns and calmly reiterated his version of events. He maintained that he had not been present when his wife's written statement was taken by investigating officer Mike van Aardt, nor had he read it. Neither had he listened or discussed his wife's testimony, he said.

As he had to Burger, Roux put it to her husband that the screams he’d heard had been those of Pistorius and the noises he’d heard were those of the cricket bat striking the door.

Johnson, who owns a firearm and has shot a gun, said that he was certain the noises were gunshots.

He was busy answering the defence's assertion that from a distance of 177m the noise of a woman screaming in a locked toilet with a closed window could not be heard, when court was adjourned.

Roux will finish his cross-examination after the break, while prosecutor Gerrie Nel is expected to re-examine Johnson for clarification purposes.

Roux sorry for cellphone disclosure - Sapa

"I hope Mr Nel relayed to you my apology, I did not realise the consequences," Roux said in the High Court in Pretoria. He was referring to prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Oscar Pistorius's lawyer Barry Roux on Thursday apologised to a State witness for reading his cellphone number out in court.

"I hope Mr Nel relayed to you my apology, I did not realise the consequences," Roux said in the High Court in Pretoria. He was referring to prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

"Thank you very much. Apology accepted," the witness, Charl Johnson replied.

Johnson told the court this week that he was inundated with calls after Roux read his number out on Tuesday.

One was from a person accusing him of lying in court. He subsequently had to keep his phone switched off.

Roux continued questioning Johnson about notes he and his wife made about the screams and shots they said they heard from Pistorius's townhouse in the early hours of February 14 last year.

Pistorius is accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He is also charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, and two counts of discharging a firearm in public.

He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

In September 2010 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

Did you and your wife discuss her testimony?: Roux to Johnson - Sapa

Barry Roux SC immediately started with his contention that Johnson and his wife Michelle Burger had discussed their testimony, because there was a "striking similarity" in their statements.

Johnson said: "We did not discuss her testimony in court."

They did talk about the events of the early hours of February 14 2013, when the paralympian shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead in a toilet at his home in Silver Woods Estate, Pretoria.

Johnson and Burger live in the next estate, Silver Stream, and have testified that they were woken by what sounded like screaming and gunshots.

The State is seeking to prove that Pistorius murdered Steenkamp during an argument.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to the charge, saying he thought there was an intruder in the house when he fired four shots through the door.

His defence has said the screaming came from Pistorius.

Charl Johnson takes the stand for cross-examination - Sapa

The fourth day of the trial of murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius got underway around 9.30am in the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

Charl Johnson took the stand for cross-examination. Barry Roux, for Pistorius, questioned him about the similarities between his testimony and that of his wife, Michelle Burger.

Burger was the first witness to testify on Monday.

Roux tackled Johnson about quoting from his wife's testimony.

Earlier, Pistorius was seen bowing his head after taking his seat in the dock. His brother Carl and sister Aimee were also in court.

Carl was seen briefly holding Pistorius's hand and straightening his suit before proceedings began.

Three women, clad in ANC Womens' League attire, were sitting next to the Steenkamp family.

Pistorius, 27, is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 last year.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder, and to contraventions under the Firearms Control Act.

No media frenzy when Oscar arrives for court today - Sapa

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius arrived at the High Court in Pretoria before 9am on Thursday on the fourth day of his murder trial.

He walked calmly past journalists without a media frenzy erupting, as had been the case on previous days.

Journalists clapped as he passed, with some jokingly remarking "well done media" for staying calm.

Media lined up outside the court around 8.30am.

Photographers had positioned themselves for good pictures ahead of the double-amputee's arrival.

The rain had stopped overnight, and electricity generators, broadcast vans, and rolls of cable were set up along Madiba Street.

Since Monday, six State witnesses have testified. Some said they heard screams and gunshots coming from Pistorius's home on Valentine's Day last year when he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder, and claims he mistook her for a burglar.

Media gets ready for court - Sapa

Local and international media were setting up outside the High Court in Pretoria for the fourth day of paralympian Oscar Pistorius trial on Thursday.

The rain had stopped overnight, and electricity generators, broadcast vans and rolls of cable were being set up along Madiba street.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder.

He is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 last year.

Pistorius claims he mistook her for a burglar.

 

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