9 May 2014

South Africa: Oscar Was on His Stumps - Expert

Photo: Werner Beukes/SAPA
Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius in court (file photo).

Pretoria — Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius was on his stumps when he fatally shot Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year, ballistics expert Thomas "Wollie" Wolmarans said on Friday.

Testifying in Pistorius's defence at the High Court in Pretoria, Wolmarans concurred with earlier evidence by police ballistics expert Captain Chris Mangena.

However, Wolmarans highlighted several differences between his conclusions and that of the State.

He submitted that bullets which hit Steenkamp, fracturing her hip did not exit her body. A section of the bullet which caused the head wound was unaccounted for and its pieces may be part of the fragments recovered at the scene.

Wolmarans also questioned the possibility of a bullet ricocheting, then hitting Steenkamp and finally landing in the toilet bowl.

Pistorius maintains that he thought his girlfriend Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her in his Pretoria home on February 14 last year.

He shot through the locked door of his toilet, hitting Steenkamp in the hip, arm and head. He has been charged with murder.

Wolmarans said he found a fragment of a bullet in Pistorius's toilet bowl, missed by investigators who had already searched the crime scene, and handed it to police.

He said an accurate determination of the sequence of the shots or Steenkamp's body position when she was shot was not possible.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act -- one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He has denied guilt on all charges.

After being questioned by defence lawyer Barry Roux, the court took a short break before prosecutor Gerrie Nel would start cross-examination on Friday morning.

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