21 Oct 2014

Oscar Pistorius sentenced – latest updates

Oscar Pistorius is sentenced to five years in prison for the culpable homicide (manslaughter) of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Live Blog Oscar Pistorius murder trial – latest tweets

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Day 49 (21 October)

  • On the eve of the final day of sentencing, Reeva Steenkamp’s sister Simone Cowburn said that Pistorius was exploiting his disability to try and get a more lenient sentence. But Pistorius’s siblings also spoke to the press, saying that they “never doubted” their brother Oscar’s account and would continue to stand by him.
  • Judge Masipa begins sentencing, and says there must not be an impression that there is “one law for the poor and disdvantaged and another for the rich and famous”.
  • Oscar Pistorius sentenced to five years in prison, and three years wholly suspended for a firearms charge.

Day 48 (17 October)

  • Both sides making closing statements, and the trial was adjourned until Tuesday when Judge Masipa will reveal what sentence Pistorius will recieve.
  • Defence counsel Barry Roux says Pistorius should not be sent to prison, adding “he has lost everything”, calling instead for house arrest and community service.
  • On the other side, Prosecutor Gerrie Nel says Pistorius has “shamelessly” used his disability in mitigation, and calls for a minimum ten year jail sentence.

Day 47 (16 October)

  • Kim Martin, Reeva Steenkamp’s cousin, tells court Oscar Pistorius “needs to pay for what he has done”.
  • There are reports that Pistorius’s sister was verbally abused in court by Mikey Schultz, who was involved in the killing of businessman Brett Kebble.

Day 46 (15 October)

Day 45 (14 October)

  • A probation officer says Oscar Pistorius could be placed in danger if sent to prison, because of his disability.
  • Prosecutor Gerri Nel says Pistorius is being portrayed as a “poor victim”

Day 44 (13 October)

  • The sentencing of Oscar Pistorius gets underway. Judge Masipa hears legal arguments from both sides before making her decision in a few days time.
  • A prison officer service officer called as a witness by Pistorius’s defence suggested that an appropriate sentence for him would be three years under house arrest, including a weekly quota of community service – something that was strongly rejected by the prosecution.
  • Court was adjourned, until 14 October.
What sentence could Oscar Pistorius get? Find out here:

    Day 43 (12 September)

    • Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide, but officially cleared the Paralympic star of murder. She said: “It cannot be said that the accused did not entertain a genuine belief that there was an intruder in his house.”
    • The judge began the day with the lesser firearms charges that Pistorius was accused of. She said he was guilty of discharging a firearm in a public place, but cleared him of two other separate charges: firing a gun out of a sunroof, and being in illegal possession of ammunition.
    • The sentencing will take place on 13 October, and his bail was extended until then.

      Day 42 (11 September)

      • Thokozile Masipa began reading her verdict. Prosecutors had called for a verdict of premeditated murder, which could carry a sentence of 25 years in prison. Pistorius denies the charge, and says he shot Reeva Steenkamp through a locked toilet door believing she was an intruder.
      • Judge Masipa said there was no evidence to support the charges of premeditated murder, or murder.
      • When it comes to the charge of culpable murder, the judge said he had “failed to take any steps to avoid death”, that he acted “hastily” and used “excessive force”. In conclusion she said that he was “negligent” – but then adjourned court for the day.
      Oscar Pistorius cleared of murder, but judge says he was "negligent" and used "excessive force" 

        Day 41 (8 August)

        • Lead defence advocate Barry Roux concluded that Oscar Pistorius’ “primal instincts” kicked in when he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria.
        • Double amputee Pistorius, once a national icon for reaching the pinnacle of sport, is accused of murdering his law graduate and model girlfriend on Valentine’s Day last year.
        • If found guilty of premeditated murder, he could face life in prison. A potential lesser charge of culpable homicide could carry a sentence of 15 years.
        • The defence team says Pistorius, nicknamed the blade runner for his hi-tech prosthetics, was a vulnerable and caring boyfriend who killed Steenkamp by accident after mistaking her for an intruder hiding behind the door.
        • In his closing statement, Roux said that the Olympic star was fearful, due to his disability and encounters from his early childhood.
        • Roux said the athlete was “instinctively” trained to have “exaggerated responses” to situations.
        • The defence dismissed neighbours’ account of events, telling the court there were “contradictions” in several of the testimonies regarding the number of screams and gunshots heard on the night.
        • Chief Prosecutor Gerrie Nel presented his final arguments the day before, saying that Pistorius shot Steenkamp through the closed toilet door after an argument, describing him as an “appalling witness” who lied constantly during testimony to try to cover up the murder.
        • Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to deliver a verdict on 11 September.

        Day 40 (7 August)

        • South African state prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked the judge in Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial on Thursday to reject the Olympic and Paralympic track star’s defence as “devoid of any truth”.
        • Since the trial opened in early March, Nel has portrayed Pistorius as a gun-obsessed hothead who shot 29-year-old Steenkamp four times through a locked toilet door where she was taking refuge after a heated argument.
        • Lead defence attorney Barry Roux began his closing response by accusing the state of deliberately avoiding calling witnesses whose evidence would have damaged their case.
        • Roux will give the bulk of his wrap-up on Friday, which is expected to be the final day of a long-overrun trial.
        • There is no jury, and so the verdict hinges on whether judge Thokozile Masipa believes Pistorius’ version of events. If she rejects his defence, she would only be able to consider the state’s case, circumstantial evidence and the balance of probabilities.

            Day 39 (8 July)

            • The defence rests its case and court is postponed until 7 August for closing arguments. The prosecution will hand in a written argument on 30 July and the defence will do the same on 4 July.

            Day 38 (7 July)

            Day 37 (3 July)

            • Professor Wayne Derman, who specialises in disability sports, returns to the stand and testifies on the challenges faced by disabled people generally, and especially athletes.
            • Prof Derman said no able-bodied person could truly understand what it is like to be disabled, and said that Pistorius was very sensitive to noise, with exaggerated responses.
            • On Pistorius, he added: “You’ve got a paradox of an individual who is supremely able and an individual who is significantly disabled”.
            • Court is adjourned until Monday.

            Day 36 (2 July)

            • The court heard that Pistorius poses a suicide risk if he doesn’t continue to receive treatment, and is suffering from post traumatic stress after shooting Reeva Steenkamp, as his lawyer reads out detail from the psychiatric report.
            • Professor Wayne Derman described Pistorius as a very “anxious individual”. He added that although the 2012 Paralympic Games were aimed at spreading awareness about disabilities, hate crime against disabled people had actually increased.
            • Although journalists were handed out copies of the full psychiatric and psychological report, the judge upheld a complaint from the Pistorius family and ruled that those who RT-ed details on Twitter would be held in contempt of court.

            Day 35 (1 July)

            • State prosecutor Gerrie Nel cross examined two defence witnesses, including an acoustics expert who testified on Monday.
            • Ivan Lin had questioned whether neighbours who were 177 metres away could have heard screams coming from the toilet, or identified them as a man or woman – with Nel arguing that “more often than not” you could.
            • Pistorius’ manager Peet Van Zyl was also quizzed by Nel over the athlete’s apparent love of guns.

            Day 34 (30 June)

            • A psychiatric report said Oscar Pistorius was not suffering from a mental condition when he shot his girlfriend.
            • Pistorius returned to court after undergoing a mental evaluation at a hospital in Pretoria for a month.
            • The judge examined Pistorius’ stumps at close range as Dr Gerald Versfeld, the surgeon who amputated Pistorius’ stumps when he was a child, gave evidence.
            If the Oscar Pistorius defence team had any hopes that the introduction of a mental illness argument would assist it's case – they were quickly dashed today, writes Debora Patta.

            A panel of four mental health experts sent back a resounding and unanimous decision after 30 days of psychiatric evaluation – that he was perfectly sane when he shot his girlfriend on Valentine's Day last year.

            Prosecutor Gerrie Nel read the findings into the court record: "Mr Pistorius did not suffer from a mental defect or a mental illness at the time of the commission of the offence that would have rendered him criminally not responsible for the offences charged."

            And in addition: "Mr Pistorius was capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act and of acting in accordance of an appreciation of the wrongfulness of his act."

            The bottom line is this is damaging for the defence. Some legal experts believe the defence introduced the mental anxiety argument to detract attention away from Pistorius's dismal performance on the witness stand.

            When in the witness box, Pistorius sobbed and retched his way through his evidence. And defence witness Dr Meryl Vorster cut a very assured and composed figure as she testified that she believed in her expert opinion that Pistorius was suffering from a generalized anxiety disorder. This went some way to restoring Pistorius's shattered credibility.

            But today that all backfired with this finding. Whilst it is unlikely anyone seriously believed that Pistorius was mentally unfit to stand trial – the defence was hoping that this would go some way towards providing a reasonable explanation for his extreme anxiety in the face of perceived danger.

            But with that torn apart by the prosecution's insistence Pistorius undergo a 30-day psychiatric observation - the defence will be unable to rest on the mental disorder argument. Instead it must now rely on it's last few witnesses to prove that Pistorius really did shoot his girlfriend after mistaking her for a burglar.

              Day 33 (20 May)

              • Oscar Pistorius is ordered to undergo a month of psychiatrics at Weskoppies psychiatric hospital. He will be an outpatient at the hospital for 30 days.
              • The trial will resume on 30 June.

              Day 32 (14 May)

              • Oscar Pistorius must undergo evaluation for mental illness, Judge Thokozile Masipa rules. The order will be handed down on Tuesday 20 May.
              • Ms Masipa told the court: “It is necessary to emphasise that an application of this nature is never taken lightly, as it is an integral part of a fair trial, having regard to the above, I am satisfied … and I shall grant that order.”
              • Defence witness and forensic psychiatrist Dr Merryll Vorster testified that Pistorius, who was born without fibulas, suffers from generalised anxiety disorder after having his legs amputated at 11 months.

              Day 31 (13 May)

              • Chief Prosecutor Gerrie Nel challenged a psychiatrist’s assessment that Oscar Pistorius suffered from an anxiety disorder, pointing out his lack of concern over a broken window and the fact that ladders, which could have allowed someone to enter his home, were left unattended.
              • The question of Pistorius’s mental state raises the question of whether he could claim “diminished responsibility” over the shooting, and the prosecution has asked that he undergo a psychiatric examination. The judge said she would rule on the request on Wednesday 14 May.
              • Dr Merryll Vorster earlier said that she did not consider Pistorius to have a “mental illness”, but that he had suffered from anxiety since he was a child.

              Day 30 (12 May)

              • A psychiatrist, Dr Merryll Vorster, testified that the celebrated double-amputee athlete had what she believed was an “anxiety disorder” that stemmed from having both legs amputated at a very early age.
              • She added: “individuals with an anxiety disorder work hard to control their environment and be very prepared in order to alleviate their levels of anxiety.”
              • Ballistics expert for the defence Tom “Wollie” Wolmarans gave evidence again on Monday, after last week contradicting evidence given by the prosecution’s police ballistics expert.

              Day 29 (9 May)

              • Ballistics expert Tom “Wollie” Wolmarans returned to the stand to be cross-examined by Gerrie Nel, who asked why his initial report from the crime scene was not submitted and why his first written report only emerged 10 days after the shooting.
              • Mr Wolmarans disagreed with the prosecution’s ballistics expert, who said that Steenkamp was covering her head with her hands when she was shot.
              • The former police officer also said he believed that four shots were fired in “fast succession”, appearing to support Pistorius’s claim that he shot quickly in a state of panic.
              • Mr Nel accused Mr Wolmarans of bias after mentioning that Pisotorius left a defense team meeting to vomit after seeing photos of Steenkamp’s body.

              Day 28 (8 May)

              • Oscar Pistorius’s defence team called an anesthetist to testify about how long it takes a person to digest food after eating and comment on the autopsy report.
              • The report found that Reeva Steenkamp still had food in her stomach after she was killed by Pistorius, leading prosecutors to challenge his story that the couple last ate around eight hours before he shot her through a toilet door.
              • But Professor Aina Christina Lundgren said a number of factors could have delayed the digestion process in Steenkamp to explain the food found in her stomach, including that she was pre-menopausal and had been sleeping.
              • A surprise witness was called to the stand: social worker and probation officer Yvette van Schalkwyk said Pistorius was “a heartbroken man” when she met him the day after the shooting, and that she wanted to testify because the media had been reporting that he had been feigning grief.
              • Ballistics expert Tom “Wollie” Wolmarans gave a different explanation for the wounds sustained by Steenkamp: he said her arm was between six and 20 cms from the door when it was hit.

              Day 27 (6 May)

              • Oscar Pistorius’s next-door neighbour Michael Nhlengethwa said he heard a man crying loudly and screaming on the night the double-amputee athlete fatally shot his girlfriend.
              • Nhlengethwa testified that his wife woke him up after hearing a bang, but did not hear gunshots. He then said he heard a man crying in a high-pitched voice, and heard the words: “No, please, please, no.”
              • He also said that he met Steenkamp once on the weekend before she was killed by Pistorius, and was struck by the warmth of her personality: “I don’t think I will ever forget that moment,” he said. “She just opened her arms. She just came and hugged me.”

              Read more: Most dramatic moments of the trial so far

              Day 26 (5 May)

              • Trial resumes. Johan Stander, Oscar Pistorius’ neighbour, tells the court how he was the first person the athlete phoned after he had shot Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year. He told the court that Mr Pistorius said: “Please, please, please, come to my house, I shot Reeva, I thought she was a burglar.”
              • Mr Stander tells the court that when he arrived, Mr Pistorius was “broken”. “He was torn apart,” he said.
              • Mr Pistorius had carried his girlfriend’s dead, bloodied body down the stairs, and was desperately asking for an ambulance, according to Carice Viljoen, Mr Stander’s daughter.
              • Ms Viljoen said that as Mr Pistorius was holding the body, “he was praying to God the whole time to save her life. He just kept on begging Reeva to just stay with him and not leave him. He was begging and pleading with Reeva to please stay with him. He was saying ‘stay with me, my love, stay with me’.”
              • Meanwhile, Ms Viljoen said, the pair were covering her wounds in towels in an attempt to stop the bleeding. She said that as they were waiting for the ambulance, he had his finger in her mouth to try and keep her airways open, asking her to take over when he went to get Ms Steenkamp’s bag to provide identification to paramedics.
              • Ms Viljoen said that when Mr Pistorius went to get Ms Steenkamp’s bag, she feared he may go and get the gun from the bathroom and shoot himself, so she ran after him.
              • The trial has been adjourned until tomorrow.

              Day 25 (17 April)

              • Court began after a warning from Judge Thokozile Masipa about “unruly” behaviour in the room adjacent to the main trial, where spectators are watching it on TV screens.
              • Mr Dixon remained adament that Steenkamp may have been in a different position to what the state testified, when she was shot, and suggested a different sequence on gun shots.
              • Trial is adjourned for two weeks over Easter until 5 May.

              Day 24 (16 April)

              • Forensics expert Roger Dixon continued to testify on ballistics evidence and offered a different sequence for the shots that killed Steenkamp, contradicting a ballistics expert and a pathologist.
              • He also said that Pistorius’s bedroom would have been have been pitch black on the night of the shooting.
              • Sound recordings of a cricket bat, and a gun being fired, are played in court, and Mr Dixon claims there is little difference between the two.
              • Chief Prosecutor Gerrie Nel grilled Mr Dixon, pointing out he is trained as a geologist and has not been part of the police forensics department for several year.
              • The judge agreed to an application to postpone the trial until 5 May, after proceedings on Thursday 17 April.

              Day 23 (15 April)

              • The prosecutor in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius ended his five-day cross-examination of the double amputee track athlete, with a stark summary of how he shot his girlfriend, insisting he killed her deliberately after an argument.
              • “You fired four shots through the door whilst knowing that she was standing behind the door,” said prosecutor Gerrie Nel.
              • Mr Nel added: “She was locked into the bathroom and you armed yourself with the sole purpose of shooting and killing her.”
              • “That is not true,” said 27-year-old Pistorius, who faces life in prison if convicted of murder.

              Day 22 (14 April)

              • Gerrie Nel pressed Oscar Pistorius on his recollection of objects in his bedroom at the time of the shooting, and claimed the duvet spattered with blood and found on the floor, disproved Pistorius’s account. He insisted: “your version of events is untrue.
              • Pistorius accused the police of moving things around, and contaminating the crime scene.
              • Mr Nel said that Pistorius was changing his defence between saying he thought he was under attack, to saying it was an accident.
              • The trial was temporarily adjourned twice after the athlete started to sob while testifying about the moments before he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home last year.

              Day 21 (11 April)

              • The third day of cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius began with Gerrie Nel questioning how concerned the accused really was about security. Pistorius admitted that he wasn’t concerned about a balcony window that had been left open.
              • Mr Nel asked the accused why, if he heard a noise, did he not ask Reeva Steenkamp if she had heard a noise or waited for her to respond.
              • The trial then focused on Pistorius’s decision making in the time before the shooting. Mr Nel asked why the defendant moved towards the danger when he heard a noise, rather than go to the bedroom where he thought Steenkmap was.
              • Mr Nel went into some detail about whether Steenkamp screamed after the first shot. Pistorius denied that Reeva screamed after the first shot. Mr Nel said neighbours heard screaming after the first shot.
              • Pistorius said he heard the noise of wood moving from inside the toilet, and thought it was the door opening and someone was coming out to attack him. Mr Nel argued that Pistorius knew Steenkamp was behind the door, and he shot her.

              Day 20 (10 April)

              • The cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius continues, with Gerrie Nel questioning why the accused made such a public apology to Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, June, when he first took the stand. Mrs Steenkamp told The Mirror on Thursday that she was “unmoved” by his apology.
              • Pistorius was forced to admit that “objectively”, there was no reason to shoot on the night he killed Reeva Steenkamp.
              • The trial revisited the now famous whatsapp messages, with Mr Nel arguing that they reveal Pistorius’s preoccupation with himself and his perception in the media – and not Reeva, or her feelings.
              • Mr Nel asked why, when he loves guns, and his family has a history of owning them, did he not know the law about storing them in a safe.
              • One message refers to Pistorius putting on an album by Kendrick Lemar, only for Steenkamp to ask him to turn it off. Mr Nel suggested it was the song called “Bitch don’t kill my vibe” – a song title that Steenkamp referenced in another message to him. (see video below).
              • As the day draws to a close, Mr Nel goes on the attack – telling Pistorius that his “version of events is a lie” and saying that he will argue Reeva Steenkamp “ran screaming” from an argument with the athlete.

              Day 19 summary (9 April):

              • Pistorius continues the emotional testimony of what happened just after he shot Reeva Steenkamp. Between sobs, his voice shaking, he tells court that he tried to help her breathe and stop the bleeding.
              • He said: “Reeva had already died while I was holding her, before the ambulance arrived so I knew there was nothing more I could do for her.”
              • The cross-examination began in feisty form, and the court is shown the “zombie stopper” video of Pistorius at a shooting range, despite his lawyers objections.
              • Chief Prosecutor Gerrie Nel urges Pistorius to “take responsibility” for killing Reeva, and to look at photos of her bloodied head: “You saw how the bullet made the watermelon explode. You know that the same thing happened to Reeva’s head.” There are gasps in court, as the photos are shown.
              • Mr Nel pointed out inconsistencies in some elements of Pistorius’s bail hearing and his testimony, including whether he went out onto the balcony before the shooting.
              • He forces Pistorius to admit that he had reconstructed some of his evidence, to which Mr Nel said: “We will have to test what you reconstructed and what you remember.”
              • For the first time, Pistorius insisted he did not intend to kill anyone, let alone his girlfriend – and said that pulling the trigger was an accident.

              Day 18 summary (8 April):

              • Pistorius explained the context of the many Whatsapp messages the pair exchanged that were previously read out in court.
              • The paralympian said Reeva Steenkamp had struggled with the attention that came with dating him, but he said the pair had been making future plans, and that the relationship had moved quickly.
              • Court was adjourned after the Paralympian broke down, sobbing, after he described holding her body in his arms once he had broken down the toilet door with a cricket bat. He said: “I saw the key so I took it unlocked the door, flung it open… I sat over Reeva and I cried. I don’t know how I was there for. She wasn’t breathing.”

              Day 17 summary (7 April):

              • The defence begins its case, with forensic pathologist Jannie Botha the first to give evidence.
              • Mr Botha said it was not possible that Reeva Steenkamp raised her arm after being shot, and said it was unlikely that she screamed, contradicting previous evidence.
              • Oscar Pistorius took to the stand to give evidence, and began by apologising to Steenkamp’s family.
              • Pistorius told the court about how he is on anti-depressants, had “terrible nightmares” and did not want to ever hold a gun again.
              • Most of the day was spent discussing Pistorius’ past, including his childhood and school days, a boat accident, and times when he has been a victim of crime.

              Day 16 summary (28 March):

              • Judge Thokozile Masipa postpones the trial until 7 April, as one of her assessors, who assists with delivering the verdict, is too ill to come to court.
              • Oscar Pistorius may take the stand himself as the defence begins its case.

              Day 15 summary:

              • Captain Francois Moller returns to give evidence about Pistorius and Steenkamp’s mobile phone records. Defence Lawyer Barry Roux says that only four messages out of over 1700 showed evidence of arguing.
              • Colonel Vermeulen – the cricket bat expert – is recalled, and faces further cross-examination from Pistorius’s lawyers. The defence insists the accused was wearing his prosthetic legs while breaking down the door: Colonel Vermeulen says the evidence disputes this, and that he was balanced on his stumps.
              • The prosecution rests its case, and the defence will now be able to consult with the 107 witnesses on the state list who were not called to testify.
              • Court is adjourned until Friday 28 March.
              Read more: One law for the rich? What the trial says about life for South Africa's elite

              Day 14 summary (24 March):

              • Anette, wife of Dr Johan Stipp and neigbour to Oscar Pistorius, testifies that she heard gunshots, then a woman screaming, followed by another set of gunshots.
              • She added that the lights in Pistorius’s home were on at the time of the screaming, and that she heard a man’s voice.
              • Revealing text messages between the couple are read out in court by Captain Francois Moller, police mobile phone expert. One from Steenkamp to Pistorius, sent on 19 January 2013, reads: “I am scared of you sometimes, how you snap at me.”
              • Another from Pistorius to Steenkamp is about the shooting at Tasha’s restaruant, which he denies: “Angel please don’t say a thing to anyone. Darren told everyone it was his fault. I can’t afford for that to come out. The guys promised not to say a thing.”

              Click on the numbers to follow Oscar Pistorius’s account of what happened in the early hours of 14 February, 2013, based on his application for bail, alongside key testimony from prosecution witnesses.

              Day 13 summary:

              • Ballistics expert Captain Christian Mangena of the South African police tells the court that Reeva Steenkamp was in a defensive position with her hands over her head when hit by the last two bullets shot by Oscar Pistorius.
              • The case is adjourned until Monday 24 March.

              Day 12 summary:

              • Police photographer Bennie van Staden takes the stand for a second day, and undergoes a lengthy cross-examination by Defence Lawyer Barry Roux.
              • Reeva Steenkamp’s mother June returns to court, and the accused‘s uncle, Arnold Pistorius, speaks to her in court.

              Day 11 summary:

              • Police photographer Bennie van Staden shows a photo of blood stains above the left hand side of the headboard in the bedroom.
              • Firearms Trainer Sean Rens testified that Pistorius had a thorough knowledge of laws detailing when someone can draw a gun on an intruder.
              • Mr Rens also that Pistorius had placed an order for at least six more guns. It emerged that the accused admitted going into “combat mode” when he thought an intruder was in his home in 2012 – it turned out that the noise was actually a washing machine.

                Day ten summary

                Day nine summary

                • Col Rensburg, the first officer on the scene of the killing, has told court about finding a “emotional” Oscar Pistorius in the kitchen of his home, and spots of blood on the stairs.
                • Police photos from the scene were shown in court for the first time, including pictures of the gun, bullet casings, phones – and blood.
                • Colonel JG Vermeulen, the state’s forensic analyst, was grilled by Defence Lawyer Barry Roux over police procedure in dealing with evidence
                • Pistorius and the family of Reeva Steenkamp were distressed at the graphic nature of some of the court images of the crime scene, and it was subsequently agreed that there would be a warning before they are shown on screen.

                Day eight summary

                • The bathroom where Steenkamp was shot dead is recreated in court, as Col Vermeulen, a forensic investigator who examined the scene, gives evidence.
                • Col Vermeulen said forensic evidence shows that the accused was not wearing his prosthetic legs when he broke down the toilet door to reach his girlfriend – contradicting Pistorius’s own account.
                • Under cross-examination by Defence Lawyer Barry Roux, the colonel was forced to defend police procedures and preservation of the evidence. But he insisted it was unlikely that Pistorius was wearing prostheses when he smashed the toilet door.

                Day seven summary

                Day six summary

                • A pathologist said the bullets used to kill Reeva Steenkamp “mushroomed” on impact, and were designed to cause maximum damage.
                • Gert Saayman added that Steenkamp had a meal around 1am, just over two hours before she died. This appears to contradict Pistorius’s account of events: that they were both in bed from 10pm the previous evening.
                • Mr Saayman “detailed each of the wounds Reeva suffered from gunshots – thigh, arm, head and fingers,” and said that Steenkamp would have been immediately brain-damaged, and unconscious, but did not necessarily die straight away.
                • The judge presiding over the trial banned live broadcast and reporting of the pathologist’s testimony of the autopsy due to its graphic nature, but said that media could report his evidence in summary later on.
                • Pistorius was reported to be distraught on hearing the evidence, and was audibly vomiting retching in court throughout the pathologist’s testimony.

                Day five summary

                • Security guard Pieter Baba says Pistorius called him and said through tears; “everything is fine”.
                • Pistorius’s ex-girlfriend Sam Taylor said she witnessed him shooting a gun through the sunroof of a car.
                • The defence lawyer has tried to paint a picture of Pistorius as vulnerable, and scared about being attacked: Ms Taylor said Pistorius always carried a gun, but was not overly anxious or concerned about his safety.
                • She also said Pistorius took his mobile phone to bed every night (the prosecution is likely to use this to raise the question of why he didn’t phone the police on the night Reeva was killed) and disagreed with the defence that Pistorius’s screams could be mistaken for that of a woman.
                • Finally, Ms Taylor also said there were one or two occasions when Pistorius had thought he heard an intruder and had woken her up.
                • Dr Johan Stipp disagreed with the defence’s theory that he heard a cricket bat hitting the bathroom door, rather than gunshots.
                • However Dr Stipp said he heard three gunshots, followed by a woman screaming, then two or three more gunshots – something that Defence Lawyer Barry Roux said contradicted the forensic evidence.
                Pistorius vomits and retches into a bucket on hearing the details of the autopsy report read out to court on day six of the trial. (R)

                Photo: Pistorius vomits and retches into a bucket on hearing the details of the autopsy report read out to court on day six of the trial.

                Day four summary

                Day three summary

                "Oscar Pistorius had transcended disability to become a world famous sporting superstar. Now he stands trial for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp": South African journalist Debora Patta sets the scene for the trial of the century.
                Oscar Pistorius greets members of the African National Congress Women's League during the fifth day of his trial (R)

                Photo: Oscar Pistorius greets members of the African National Congress Women’s League during the fifth day of his trial.

                Day two summary

                Day one summary

                • Oscar Pistorius pleaded not guilty to the “intentional” killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
                • The first witness described hearing a woman’s “blood-curdling” screams followed by four gunshots. Michell Burger told court: “The evening was extremely traumatic. The fear in that woman’s voice was difficult to explain”.
                • The Paralympian accused the prosecution of attempting a character assassination, and denied that he and Steenkamp had been arguing.
                • The trial started late, reportedly because the Afrikaans interpreter was called in at short notice, and was “overwhelmed” by the case. She burst into tears before leaving court.