Prosecution outlines case in Pistorius murder hearing | Africa | DW | 20.02.2013
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Prosecution outlines case in Pistorius murder hearing

A detective in the murder case against South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been giving evidence on the stand. Pistorius denies the allegation that he intentionally shot and killed his girlfriend.

The lead investigator in the case of premeditated murder against Pistorius told a court on Wednesday that "nonstop shouting" had been heard coming from the athlete’s home, where 29-year-old model Reeva Steerkamp was shot dead.

Detective Hilton Botha said one witness "heard talking that sounded like nonstop fighting" during the early hours of the morning of February 14. Gunshots and screaming were later heard, he told Pretoria Magistrate's Court.

"We have a statement of a person who said after he heard gunshots, he went to his balcony and saw the light was on," said Botha. "Then he heard a female screaming two to three times, then more gunshots." According to Botha, Steenkamp had been hit by three bullets.

Botha also claimed that police had found testosterone and needles in the athlete’s bedroom.

Synthetic testosterone is banned by the International Olympic Committee. Pistorius - whose defense team said the substance was an herbal remedy - became the first Paralympian runner ever to run in the Olympic Games in London last year.

Botha added that he believed Pistorius posed a possible flight risk if given bail, having both offshore accounts and a home in Italy. The court has already said it would need "exceptional" reasons to grant bail to the 26-year-old double amputee.

Pistorius denies the charge of premeditated murder, claiming that he thought he was firing his gun at an intruder. The track star had arrived at court for the second day of bail proceedings by police car, with a blue blanket covering his head.

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Another day on trial

The athlete told the court on Tuesday that the couple had spent the evening watching television, with Steenkamp doing yoga. He said he awoke during the night and heard a noise from the bathroom, feeling "very vulnerable" and took a pistol from beneath the bed.

"I am absolutely mortified by the events and the devastating loss of my beloved Reeva," Pistorius said through a statement read to the court by his lawyer.

However, prosecuting lawyer Gerrie Nels said Steenkamp and Pistorius argued before the 29-year-old model fled to the bathroom. He said that the 26-year-old had put on his prosthetic legs before walking and shooting through the bathroom door, killing Steenkamp.

If convicted, Pistorius faces a life sentence. Prosecution spokesman Medupe S'Maiku has said the hearings could take all week.

rc/kms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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