2 minute read
13 Mar 2014
11:53 am

Oscar Trial: Footprint on door panel probed

How a footprint got onto a panel of Oscar Pistorius's toilet door came under the spotlight at his murder trial in the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

Police forensic expert Colonel Johannes Vermeulen holds a cricket bat while standing next to the door of murder accused Oscar Pistorius' toilet during cross-examination at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday, 12 March 2014. Pistorius, a double amputee, has said he used the bat to break down a locked toilet door through which he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year.He is on trial for premeditated murder. Pistorius has denied guilt, saying he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder. Picture: Werner Beukes/Pool

Barry Roux, for Pistorius, explored several possibilities of how the print got onto the panel.

Pistorius broke the door down with a cricket bat after he shot Reeva Steenkamp through it, apparently thinking she was an intruder.

He argues he kicked at the door after putting his prosthetic legs on.

A photo displayed in court shows the long, narrow panel lying on the floor of Pistorius’s blood-smeared, tiled floor. About three large wooden splinters lie alongside the panel.

Forensic investigator Colonel Johannes Vermeulen told the court the footprint was on the side of the panel facing the floor.

“The mark could have been imprinted on the panel by him [Pistorius] stumbling on the panel,” Roux said, adding that he could then, somehow, have turned it over afterwards.

“That is a possibility that is on the table,” Vermeulen said.

He pointed out that the blood was smeared underneath the panel, indicating that the blood was on the floor first, and the panel was then put over it.

The door and the replica of the cubicle, complete with a toilet, cistern, and magazine rack, was set up next to the witness box in court GD.

Four bullet holes are clustered on the right side of the door, just under the keyhole. The toilet is to the left of the door.

Vermeulen is the commander of the material analysis sub-section at the forensic science laboratory.

Pistorius is accused of the premeditated murder of model and law graduate Steenkamp in his home on February 14 last year.

He is also charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, and two counts of discharging a firearm in public.

He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

On September 30, 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.