21 Feb 2013

Pistorius hearing told witness heard shouting

7:39 pm on 21 February 2013

A bail hearing has been told a witness heard "non-stop shouting" in the home of South African athletics star Oscar Pistorius shortly before his girlfriend was shot dead.

The double-amputee athlete denies murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot dead at his home on the outskirts of the city early on 14 February.

On the second day of the hearing, detective leading the investigation also told the Pretoria magistrates court that police had found two containers of testosterone and needles in Pistorius' bedroom, Reuters reports. The athlete's defence team disputed the finding.

In an affidavit delivered on Tuesday, Mr Pistorius said he woke in the middle of the night and thought an intruder had climbed through his bathroom window and entered the adjoining toilet.

The 26-year-old said he grabbed a 9mm pistol from under his bed and went into the bathroom. He then described how he fired into the locked toilet door in a blind panic in the mistaken belief the intruder was lurking inside.

Police officer Hilton Botha told the court on Wednesday he believed Oscar Pistorius knew his girlfriend was in the bathroom and fired four shots through the door.

Mr Pistorius had said he moved into the bathroom on his stumps - the reason he felt so vulnerable - but Mr Botha said the trajectory of the shots suggested Pistorius was wearing his artificial legs when he pulled the trigger.

He also cited a witness at the gated community near Pretoria where Mr Pistorius lived as saying he heard a shot, followed 17 minutes later by more shots. Another witness spoke of a shot, followed by screams, followed by more shots, he said.

After vigorous questioning from Mr Pistorius' defence team, Mr Botha estimated the distance between the witnesses and Mr Pistorius' home at 300 metres.

Lead defence counsel Barry Roux challenged Mr Botha, describing oversights and slip-ups in the initial police investigation.

Mr Roux also disputed Mr Botha's reference to "testosterone", saying the substance was a legitimate herbal remedy called testo-composutim co-enzyme.

After four hours of testimony, the hearing was adjourned until Thursday. It is expected to conclude this week, after the defence and prosecution have outlined their central arguments.

It may then be several months before a trial. If convicted of premeditated murder, Mr Pistorius faces life in jail.