Lois Pistorius (L), the aunt of Oscar Pistorius, sits with
an unidentified family member during his trial at the high
court in Pretoria. REUTERS/Themba Hadebe/Pool
A South African court saw graphic images of the
bloodstained bathroom in which Oscar Pistorius shot his
girlfriend, as prosecutors unveiled more details of the scene
of the Valentine's Day killing.
Colonel Schoombie van Rensburg, the first policeman to arrive
at the athlete's home in an upmarket Pretoria estate,
described the grisly sight that greeted him in the early
hours of Feb. 14 last year.
During his testimony, photographs of Steenkamp's face and
body were also shown accidentally to the court, upsetting
Pistorius, who vomited into a bucket for the second time
since the start of the trial, now in its second week.
Van Rensburg said that on his arrival at the home, he saw
Steenkamp's body lying at the bottom of the staircase covered
in towels and black bags. She had been declared dead by
medics by the time he arrived.
Moments later, he found a "very emotional" Pistorius in the
kitchen pacing up and down.
"I asked him what happened but he didn't answer me," Van
Rensburg told the court. "He was in tears."
The colonel said a trail of blood led him up the stairs to
Pistorius' bedroom and the bathroom where the Paralympic and
Olympic star shot Steenkamp, whom he says he mistook for an
Pistorius' lower limbs were amputated as a baby but he
overcame the disability to become the "fastest man on no
legs", running on carbon-fibre "blades" to win gold medals at
the Beijing and London Paralympics. He has pleaded 'not
guilty' to murdering law graduate and model Steenkamp.
Prosecutors are trying to prove that the killing was
premeditated. If found guilty of murder, Pistorius faces at
least 25 years behind bars.
The court was shown photos of the blood-spattered bathroom
floor on which lay a crumpled, blood-soaked towel and a
cricket bat that Pistorius used to break down the bathroom
door after shooting through it.
The photos showed empty bullet cartridges on the floor and
the 9mm pistol with which Pistorious fired four shots.
Steenkamp was hit three times: in the head, arm and hip.
Asked by state prosecutor Gerrie Nel what condition the
firearm was in, van Rensburg said it was cocked, with the
safety catch removed.
"It's ready to fire," he said, when shown a photo. "You just
have to pull the trigger."
Van Rensburg, a police veteran of 29 years' service, was the
commander of the nearby Boschkop police station at the time
of the incident and had been on duty for 24 hours when he was
called, he told the court.
He resigned from the police last December.