Wielding the cricket bat in his hands, police colonel Johannes
Vermuelen knelt down before swinging it at the wooden door in a
court reconstruction to show the angle of the marks and to suggest
they could only have been made by someone much shorter than him.
The 27-year-old double amputee is charged with the murder of model
and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot through the locked
toilet door on Valentine's Day last year.
Prosecutors want to prove that it was premeditated killing, but
Pistorius says he was defending himself from what he thought was an
intruder who had broken into his gated-community home in the capital
of the crime-ridden country.
At his bail hearing last year, Pistorius justified shooting because
of the extreme vulnerability he felt because of his disability.
However, in his affidavit he stated that he had put on his
prostheses before smashing down the door.
"The marks on the door are actually consistent with him not having
his legs on and I suspect they must be similar to the height that he
was when he fired the shots," he told the court.
Defense advocate Barry Roux countered by suggesting that even with
his legs on, Pistorius would not be swinging a bat at the same
height as an able-bodied person.
Close-up photographs of the damaged door were shown in court, as
well as scuffs on the autographed cricket bat, prompting a Tweet
from former South African test cricketer Herschelle Gibbs: "Just
saw my signature on the bat used by the accused in Oscar
Pistorius' lower limbs were amputated as a baby but he overcame the
disability to become the "fastest man on no legs", winning gold
medals at both the Beijing and London Paralympics.
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With good looks and an easy smile, he was a sponsors' dream, but
since Steenkamp's killing the accounts of his behavior have revealed
a dark side to his carefully groomed media persona.
Prosecutors are trying to show Pistorius loved the fast life, with
an unhealthy obsession for guns.
Darren Fresco, a friend, earlier told the court Pistorius had been
driving at above 200 kph when the pair and one of the athlete's
ex-girlfriends were travelling to a resort town south of
Johannesburg in September 2012.
Pistorius' gun lay between his legs and not in a holster when the
three drove back later that day, Fresco said.
Both Fresco and Samantha Taylor, the woman Pistorius left for
Steenkamp, have testified that the athlete shot through the car's
sunroof in anger when a policeman emptied the magazine of Pistorius'
firearm, after they were pulled over for speeding.
(Writing by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; editing by Ed Stoddard and Angus MacSwan)
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