Oscar Pistorius told a security guard that “everything is fine” after shooting Reeva Steenkamp, the court trying the South African athlete with murder has heard. Pistorius’ trial has now entered its fifth day.
Pistorius, 27, is facing four charges, including the premeditated murder of Steenkamp – his girlfriend at the time – in the early hours of February 14, 2013.
The double-amputee Olympic sprinter, who ran on carbon-fiber prostheses and was nicknamed ‘Blade Runner,’ is also charged with three firearms offenses. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and has claimed the shooting of Steenkamp, 29, through the bathroom door was an accident after he mistook her for an intruder.
Giving testimony on Friday to the court in Pretoria were Pieter Jacob Baba – a security guard for the estate in which Pistorius lived – and the athlete’s former girlfriend Samantha Taylor.
Baba testified that, after other residents had alerted him to the sound of gunfire on the night Steenkamp had died, he had talked to Pistorius on the telephone. Baba said the athlete had told him “everything is fine,” but the guard had then “realized that Mr Pistorius was crying.”
When he walked to Pistorius’ home with the administrator of the estate, Baba said he “saw Mr Pistorius coming down [the stairs] with Reeva,” who had been shot.
“I was so shocked that I couldn’t even think for a few moments,” Baba said. “I got such a fright seeing Oscar carrying Reeva down, after he had told me everything was fine.”
‘They were angry with police’
Also taking the stand was ex-girlfriend Taylor, who described an incident in September 2012 in which she was in a car with Pistorius and his friend Darren Fresco.
Police who stopped the car for speeding noticed Pistorius’ unholstered handgun on the car seat. The athlete had a gun license but Taylor said police told him it was forbidden to leave it exposed in that manner. After being let go by police, she said Pistorius fired a shot through the sunroof of the car: “The shot was fired because they were angry with the police,” Taylor said. “They found it funny because they were irritating the police.”
The incident is related to one of the firearms charges Pistorius faces. The other stems from when Pistorius accidentally fired a pistol under the table of a Johannesburg restaurant, the court had heard on Wednesday.
Taylor also described previous incidents when Pistorius thought there was an intruder trying to get into his home, and on one occasion “he got up with his gun.”
With no trial by jury in South Africa, Judge Thokozile Masipa will pronounce Pistorius innocent or guilty and will decide on any sentence. If convicted, prosecutors say they will seek a life sentence – the strictest punishment available in the country. A life sentence would require Pistorius, who ran at the London 2012 Olympic Games, to spend a minimum of 25 years in prison.
The case has garnered international attention as the world’s most high-profile trial involving an athlete since the case of OJ Simpson in the mid-1990s. Hundreds of journalists are in Pretoria to follow the case.