Oscar Pistorius

Court hears of screams, shots and testosterone at Pistorious bail hearing

Oscar Pistorius tells court he fired through toilet door at an intruder, butpolice say he knew girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was inside

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 February, 2013, 5:09am

Oscar Pistorius, the South African double amputee track star dubbed "Blade Runner", argued with girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp before shooting her dead and investigators found testosterone and needles at his home, a court heard on Wednesday.

Pistorius sobbed uncontrollably in the Pretoria magistrate's court as the lead detective in the murder investigation presented his testimony about the death of the 29-year-old swimsuit model on Valentine's Day, February 14.

Steenkamp was in the toilet of the athlete's home when she was shot dead.

The shooting, and allegations that have emerged at the bail hearing, have stunned South Africa and millions of people around the world who regarded Pistorius as the epitome of sporting triumph over adversity. Last year he made history by becoming the first double-amputee to run in the Olympics.

"One of our witnesses heard a fight, two people talking loudly at each other ... from two in the morning to three," officer Hilton Botha told the court.

Pistorius said in an affidavit on Tuesday that he woke in the middle of the night and thought an intruder had climbed through his bathroom window and entered the toilet area. The 26-year-old said he then grabbed a 9-mm pistol from under his bed, went into the bathroom and fired into the locked toilet door in a panic.

One of our witnesses heard a fight, two people talking loudly at each other ... from two in the morning to three

Disputing Pistorius' affidavit, Botha said: "I believe he knew she [Steenkamp] was in the bathroom and he shot four shots through the door," adding the angle at which the rounds were fired suggested they were aimed at somebody on the toilet.

Pistorius had said he moved into the bathroom on his stumps - the reason he felt so vulnerable - but Botha said the shots went in a "top to bottom" trajectory, suggesting Pistorius was wearing his artificial legs when he pulled the trigger.

"It seems to me it was fired down," he said.

The detective also cited another witness on the upmarket gated community near Pretoria where Pistorius lived as saying he heard a shot, followed 17 minutes later by more shots. Another witness also spoke of a shot followed by screams, followed by more shots, he said.

Steenkamp was hit in the head, arm and hip in the small toilet room inside the bathroom, which adjoined the bedroom.

Botha also claimed that testosterone and needles were found in Pistorius' bedroom with state prosecutor Gerrie Nel correcting Botha when he initially called the substance "steroids."

Pistorius' defence team also disputed Botha's reference to "testosterone", saying the substance was a legitimate herbal remedy called "testo-composutim co-enzyme".

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said Pistorius was drug-tested before and during last year's Paralympic Games in London, adding that on both occasions the results were negative. At the games he won gold in the 400m, silver in the 200m and came fourth in the 100m.

He carried South Africa's flag at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics, and US magazine Sports Illustrated named him as one of the most inspiring figures of the year. The sprinter's endorsements and sponsorships were thought to be worth as much as US$2 million a year.

However, Nike and Thierry Mugler both said they had dropped Pistorius from advertising campaigns, while cosmetics firm Clarins said it was recalling its "A Man" perfume range out of "respect and compassion towards the families involved".

The hearing resumes today.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg, Agence France-Presse and Associated Press