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Pistorius trial: Stipp's wife testifies

Neighbour and wife of previous witness Dr Johan Stipp, Anette, has been called to testify.

Oscar Pistorius sits in court on 24 March 2014 as the fourth week of his trial starts. Picture: Pool.

PRETORIA - State prosecutor Gerrie Nel has called witness Anette Stipp to testify in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.

Stipp, whose husband Johan already testified, is giving her testimony with regards to the night Pistorius killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Video: Summary of week three.

The Stipps also live in the Silver Woods Country Estate where the shooting took place.

Johan was one of the first people to arrive at Pistorius's house after the incident and he attempted to resuscitate Steenkamp.

Nel referred Stipp to the evening of 13 February.

"It was an ordinary evening. We went to bed. I had flu and woke up in a coughing fit. I was lying in bed. Looked at the clock, it was 03:02am."

She said while lying in bed she heard three sounds which she believed to be gunshots.

"My husband confirmed that he also heard it."

She identified Pistorius's house as the house where she saw the lights on after hearing the sounds.

"I heard screaming coming from the house. Sounded like a family murder. Why else would a woman scream like that?" she asked.

Stipp said she and her husband attempted to call the police as they were out on the balcony trying to establish the source of the screams.

"I eventually got through to security and alerted them to the incident. After the first set of shots I could definitely hear a woman screaming. Just before the second set of shots there was a male voice."

She said on 21 February they again woke up to the sound of people arguing and told her husband to ignore it.

Then again on 17 March this year they heard more screaming and assumed there were sound tests being conducted.

"I was annoyed. It was 03:30am. I got up and saw two men on our lawn. I made comments and went back to bed."

Regarding the night of the murder, Stipp said when husband came back from Pistorius's house, he explained that it was a man who killed his girlfriend.

"Only later in the day did I find out that it was Pistorius who killed his girlfriend."

OLDWAGE LEADS CROSS-EXAMINATION

Defence advocate Kenny Oldwage, who is this morning leading the cross-examination of Stipp, initially tried to determine if her testimony was influenced by media coverage or other witnesses testimony during the trial.

Oldwage asked Stipp if she had kept up with the trial.

She said she "did not follow it religiously", but it's been hard to escape.

Oldwage accepted this, but said she must have heard some of the evidence that had been given.

She agreed that she had, but had not compared this evidence with her own.

"Would you have difficulty with what you have heard compared to what you say is your good recollection of events?"

Stipp replied, "As I said, I haven't compared the versions."

Oldwage then moved on to establish Stipp's exact movements compared to those of her husband.

He summarised Stipp's version, which she confirmed.

Oldwage also asked whether Stipp's level of alertness was greater when she heard the first shot as opposed to the second shot.

"My level of alertness stayed the same."

Stipp said the screaming they heard, which was a female voice, began after the first set of shots.

She said it was "loud and clear" screaming and that it didn't sound like the screaming was muffled or blocked by anything.

Oldwage also questioned Stipp about her exact location when she first heard the screams.

A picture was also shown to the court from the Stipp's bedroom looking out towards Pistorius's house.

Stipp also explained why she and her husband only heard three bangs at a time.

She said she thinks they must have missed one at the time of the second set of bangs, probably due to them trying to place phone calls.

Oldwage used her earlier claim that she was highly alert for both sets, saying it made no sense that she would say that, having missed the first bang. The advocate referred to Stipp's husband's testimony where he also referred to the lights on the houses being on after shots.

Oldwage explored Stipp's recollection of which of the sets of windows were brighter and where the lights were switched on.

Before the tea adjournment, Oldwage tried to find even the most minor holes in Stipp's testimony, particularly in comparison to that of her husband.

Oldwage pressed Stipp on how much she discussed her memory of events with her husband, and whether this happened before or after making their statements.

She said she didn't know when he made his first statement, but she was present for his second statement which was when she gave her first statement.

She said they never discussed their evidence, but just had "natural discussions" about that fatal night.

Cross-examination will continue after the tea break.

TRIAL EXTENDED TO 16 MAY

Pistorius's trial has been extended to 16 May because the court will be in recess for the Easter holidays.

It was initially set down for three weeks this month.

Spokesperson for the judiciary Lulama Luti said, "The dates have been agreed to by the parties, the judge and the judge president and the defence and prosecution may finish leading their cross-examinations earlier. But the dates will stand as is so we're set to continue until 16 May."

Meanwhile, the athlete plans to sell his upmarket Silver Woods Country Estate home to fund his legal fees, his lawyer said in a statement on Thursday.

The murder trial, which entered its fourth week today, reportedly costs the 'Blade Runner' as much as R100,000 a day.

Get all the latest developments on the EWN Oscar Pistorius portal.

Video: Steenkamp's position when shot.

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