Oscar Pistorius was “wrong” in his version of events about what happened on the night he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the prosecution has claimed. The claim was made on Thursday, the 25th day of Pistorius’ trial, the last before a two-week break for the Easter holidays.
During cross-examination by lawyer Gerrie Nel, forensic expert Roger Dixon appeared to contradict what the athlete told the court about the position of a magazine rack in the bathroom.
In a graphic photograph showing a pool of Ms Steenkamp’s blood around the toilet bowl, the witness, whose expertise was heavily criticised by Mr Nel during questioning on Wednesday, pointed out a rectangular-shaped mark.
He said this shows the magazine rack was in the position it appeared in in a police photograph, something Pistorius, who claims police officers moved objects in his house, rejects.
Mr Nel told Mr Dixon: “Remember when I asked whether the accused’s version was correct? You have now showed us the accused’s version was wrong.”
As Mr Nel continued his attempt to identify inaccuracies in the defence case, Mr Dixon admitted he did not measure the angles of any specific bullet holes in the bathroom door.
At one point the witness picked up one of Pistorius’ prosthetic legs, on which traces of varnish were found.
He revealed he did not check whether the varnish – apparently from the door the 27-year-old kicked down to reach Reeva Steenkamp – could have come from contact with other doors in the house.
Mr Dixon was previously branded “irresponsible” by Mr Nel, who accused him of addressing the court without having properly read a post-mortem report about Ms Steenkamp’s death.
Pistorius, 27, admits shooting his partner but denies a charge of premeditated murder, claiming he mistook her for an intruder.
The athlete lowered his head and clasped his hands around his ears as further details about Ms Steenkamp’s injuries were read to the court.
Mr Dixon said the shock of the first bullet fired through the bathroom door may have caused her to twist and fall.
He told the court a further bullet hit Ms Steenkamp’s head as she slumped to the floor, hitting her back on the magazine rack as she did so.
On Wednesday, Mr Dixon said a bullet that struck the model’s arm caused such serious damage it was like “an instant amputation”.
The day began with a stark warning from Judge Thokozile Masipa to people watching the case in an adjoining ‘overspill’ room, who she said clamber over benches and “cheer, boo and do what they like”.
“Something disturbing has come to my attention,” she said.
As well as premeditated murder, Pistorius, who won two gold medals at the Paralympic Games in London in 2012, denies two further counts related to shooting a gun in public on separate occasions prior to the killing. The trial is scheduled to resume on May 5.