Monday, 17 March 2014

Oscar Pistorius Trial Hears From Gun Supplier

Oscar Pistorius told a firearms supplier how he went into "combat mode" when he feared intruders were in his house, a court has heard.

Giving evidence on the eleventh day of the athlete's murder trial, firearms training academy manager Sean Rens told the court the athlete had a "great love and enthusiasm" for guns.

Mr Rens said Pistorius told him of one occasion when he heard a noise in his home and drew a weapon, fearing burglars were on the property.

He went into "code red" or "combat mode" after hearing a noise in his house but it turned out to be from the tumble dryer, Mr Rens said.

Pistorius Promo

Pistorius had tweeted about the incident in November 2012, saying: "Nothing like getting home to hear the washing machine on and thinking its an intruder to go into full combat recon mode into the pantry!"

The tweet has since been deleted from his Twitter account.

Mr Rens said he met the double-amputee runner in 2012 and that Pistorius asked to be provided with a revolver.

He said Pistorius was familiar with gun laws and had filled out a questionnaire when applying for new permits.

Pistorius trial police photographer pictures The court was shown photographs of Pistorius' bloodied prosthetic leg

Mr Rens said that after buying a Smith and Wesson 500 from him, Pistorius put in a further order for four more guns - two shotguns, a LM6 civilian assault rifle and two revolvers, including a .38 special.

However, the order was cancelled around a month after Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead, the court heard. 

At the start of the day Ms Steenkamp's mother June  - attending for the first time since the opening day - appeared to acknowledge the athlete and spoke to his sister Aimee in the courtroom.

Oscar Pistorius's sister Aimee chats to Reeva Steenkamp's mother June ahead of Oscar's trial in Pretoria The athlete's sister Aimee spoke with June Steenkamp in court

She left court before evidence from police photographer Bennie van Staden, who discussed pictures taken at the scene - including graphic images of her daughter's injuries.

Mr van Staden said he arrived at the house at 4.50am on February 14, 2013 where he took photographs of the victim, of Pistorius in a garage and of rooms in the house.

He said Pistorius was "very quiet and emotional" when he arrived, adding that he meant he was crying.

He told the court the date and time was visible in his pictures and rejected claims from the defence that the timeline of his work was unclear.

Pistorius trial police photographer pictures Smears of blood were visible on a signed cricket bat in the house

He also explained how he marked out certain objects in the bathroom with cones and moved a towel and other items for visibility.

The court was shown photographs of Pistorius' bloodied prosthetic leg and of unexplained damage to the main bedroom door in the house.

Photographs were also taken of blood spots on the bedroom wall, above one of the bedside tables, and of bullet casings in the passage leading from the bedroom to the bathroom, the court heard.

Sky's Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt, who has been in court, said: "Why all this is there, we haven't been offered an explanation, but it begins to build up a picture of the prosecution case, that there was an argument before the shooting."

Pistorius trial police photographer pictures Police pictures showed the scene in the athlete's bedroom

Pistorius, who won two gold medals at the Paralympics in London in 2012, is charged with premeditated murder.

He is also accused of illegally possessing ammunition, as well as two further counts related to shooting a gun in public in two separate incidents before the killing.

The athlete denies the charges and says he shot Ms Steenkamp, 29, by mistake after mistaking her for an intruder.

Because there are no jury trials in South Africa, his fate will be decided by a judge, working with two assessors.

The trial continues. 

:: Watch a special Sky News programme on the trial at 9.30pm, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.

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