Oscar Pistorius trial Day 10: When police tainted vital evidence
Police tainted vital evidence and even stole an expensive watch from Oscar Pistorius's home, the officer who arrested the Paralympian told the court during day 10 of his murder trial. Here are highlights from Friday's proceedings:
Police tainted vital evidence and even stole an expensive watch from Oscar Pistorius's home, the officer who arrested the Paralympian told the court during day 10 of his murder trial.
Here are highlights from Friday's proceedings:
- Giliam van Rensburg showed the court a photo of a bare-chested Oscar Pistorius covered in blood, one of the first pictures taken of the athlete after he shot dead girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
"I found him without a shirt, with shorts on, with his prosthetics on. There was blood on the front of his body," said the retired station chief.
Several other crime scene photos showed the toilet cubicle splattered with blood where the 29-year-old model was shot.
- Officers stole a watch worth as much as $10,000 (7,000 euros) from the Paralympian's collection during their forensic investigation, Van Rensburg testified.
"I was furious," he said, adding that the house was sealed off afterwards to protect Pistorius's possessions.
- Van Rensburg conceded police tainted the crime scene in various ways during their investigations.
One expert handled the Taurus 9mm that killed Steenkamp without due care, he said.
"The ballistics expert was handling the firearm without gloves," Van Rensburg told the court, adding that the policeman had already removed the magazine.
He said police also moved a fan and the sheets that covered Pistorius's bed.
- Van Rensburg said he stored the toilet door that the athlete fired four shots through in his office to keep it safe.
"The door is the most valuable evidence," he testified.
The defence has argued additional marks appeared on the door while it was in police possession.
- Defence lawyer Barry Roux pointed out inconsistencies in different police statements about the crime scene. Another officer claimed to be the first to enter the bathroom and find the gun.
"The only explanation is he got the information and wrote the statement on hearsay," said Van Rensburg during cross-examination.
- Roux also accused Van Rensburg, and indirectly the prosecution, of trying to stretch his testimony so that disgraced former policeman Hilton Botha would not need to testify.
"You are standing in for Mr. Botha's evidence on aspects that you cannot stand in for," Roux said.
Botha admitted that he had walked through the scene without protective footwear and failed to notice a bullet that had lodged in the toilet bowl at Pistorius's bail hearing last year.