Pistorius trial: State finalises cross-examination

Gerrie Nel wrapped up his relentless cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius this morning.

Gerrie Nel wrapped up his relentless cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius this morning.. Picture: Christa Van der Walt/EWN.

PRETORIA - State prosecutor Gerrie 'bull terrier' Nel has finalised his cross-examination of murder accused Oscar Pistorius.

Pistorius stands accused of the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp who he shot and killed during the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

Picture: Carte Blanche.

The accused also faces two separate firearms-related charges and one of illegal possession of ammunition.

STATE ENDS CROSS-EXAMINATION

Before wrapping up, Nel moved to the issue of blame.

Picture: Pool.

"Who should we blame?" he asked.

Pistorius said, "I should be blamed for taking Reeva's life, but not for shooting her."

Nel then asked "Who should we blame for the Black Talon rounds which ripped through her body?"

Pistorius responded, "Black Talon is a type of ammunition used for my type of firearm."

Nel then wrapped up and suggested that the court make the following findings while directing it at Pistorius:

"Steenkamp was awake and eating two hours before you killed her. That is the argument Van der Merwe heard.

"Johnson, Burger and the Stipps heard Reeva's blood curdling screams, when she escaped from you.

"You fired four shots through the door knowing it was her.

"You armed yourself for the sole purpose of shooting and killing Reeva.

"Afterwards you were overcome by what had happened."

And with that, Nel ended his cross-examination.

TODAY'S CROSS-EXAMINATION

After an emotion-filled day yesterday, Nel continued with his cross-examination when proceedings resumed this morning by asking Pistorius whether Steenkamp had opened the bathroom window.

The athlete responded, "Correct. She opened it before she went into the toilet."

The prosecutor stated, "So, on your version, in the time you heard the noise, got your gun and walked down the passage, she had voided her bladder and dressed herself?"

Pistorius agreed that in the time he heard the window open, but before he started screaming, she had emptied her bladder.

Nel read the bail application where Pistorius stated that he "heard movement" from the toilet cubicle.

He said the inference was that he [Pistorius] heard a person or people moving, which contradicted his testimony that he heard "wood sounds".

"Why use the term movement instead of noise?" Nel asked.

Pistorius explained that it was the movement which made a noise.

"REEVA!, REEVA!"

Nel asked, "Why would you open fire at the sound of the magazine rack, if it has nothing to do with the door?"

The Paralympian said, "in retrospect I believed that the sound I heard was the magazine rack".

While Pistorius said he was getting confused with Nel's simple line of questioning, the prosecutor told the court this was a clear example of a contradiction.

"Your version is becoming more and more improbable and you are tailoring more."

A seemingly evasive Pistorius said, "After unsuccessfully ramming and kicking the door, I fetched the cricket bat. I was screaming. I remember one of the shots hit the frame of the door, it shocked my hands. I was screaming out loud, for the Lord to help me."

He continued, "I placed my gun on the floor before I hit the door with the cricket bat. I charged the door, pulled at the door and then kicked at it with my gun in hand."

But, during all this, he still couldn't explain why he left his firearm on the floor.

In response to this, he said "I was crying and screaming, Reeva, Reeva. I was overcome with terror and despair".

BREAKING DOWN THE DOOR

Pistorius then demonstrated to the court where he was standing when he hit the door.

Picture: Pool.

He explained that when hitting the door, a splinter on the right panel broke out.

"I looked inside and could see Reeva. I ripped off more panels. I saw the key on the floor. I unlocked the door."

Nel said it was important that he explained Steenkamp's position at that time.

The athlete said, "Her right buttock was on the floor, right arm on the toilet bowl with her head on her shoulder."

Pictures of the crime scene were then shown in court for Pistorius to illustrate better.

MAGAZINE RACK

Pistorius said "Reeva's back was against the wall where the magazine rack is. It was not there when I found her. The rack was moved to the spot where Reeva was lying."

He said he recalled the rack being to the far right of the picture.

Another view of the toilet entrance was shown and on this he said the rack would have been against the wall on the right.

"I checked whether she was breathing. I then pulled her on to me (he gestures with his arms, pulling closer to chest). I then heard her breath and tried to move her out. That's when I kicked the magazine rack."

He said he doesn't recall kicking the magazine rack, but said he "must have".

"Reeva's phone was near the large plank. It was switched on, but had a pass code. I went to collect my phones and called Stander to come help me."

Pistorius was then shown a picture of the bathroom but said he couldn't say if anything was out of place because he couldn't remember.

He also said he had no independent recollection of the scene, such as where the phones and his firearm were placed, but said the rack was out of place.

Video: Nel continues to grill Pistorius.

Nel asked, "Why would you not scream at her when you found her? Why not scream 'Reeva', Reeva' at that moment?"

The accused said he was broken and was crying.

Picture: Pool.

After a few questions trying to ascertain Pistorius's timeline and what he did or did not do, Nel went back to a picture showing the leg of the magazine rack in a pool of blood which showed that it had never moved.

Pistorius now said that somebody must have picked it up and placed it there.

After getting a lot of messages from his team, Nel asked for a brief adjournment to consult with them.

Get all the latest on the EWN Pistorius trial.

Video: Pistorius won't take responsibility.