Oscar Pistorius had 'big love' for guns

Tuesday's key evidence - in 60 seconds

A friend of Oscar Pistorius has told his murder trial that the athlete "had a big love" for guns.

Darren Fresco said that he had been with him on two occasions when a gun had been fired in public.

Mr Pistorius had once accidentally fired a gun in a restaurant but made him take the blame, Mr Fresco said.

The Paralympic athlete denies intentionally killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and says he mistook her for a burglar.

Analysis

Darren Fresco, in a black suit with shoulder-length, slicked-back light brown hair, seemed confident - some may even say cocky - as he answered defence lawyer Barry Roux's questions.

Mr Roux has a tendency to ask the same question over and over again pressing witnesses on details, which can make them seem unsure, and Mr Fresco was no exception.

For one, he could not explain why his statement had not mentioned Oscar Pistorius asking him to be his fall guy at Tasha's restaurant, or that he had made up a story to the restaurant owners about how the gun had gone off.

Mr Fresco also was not sure when the Paralympian had asked him to take the blame for the incident, just that he had done.

The lack of detail does not necessarily harm Mr Fresco's credibility. It has, however, given Mr Roux enough room to suggest he may be protecting himself and sacrificing Mr Pistorius.

Mr Fresco's testimony has also given us a glimpse into the friends' fast life - guns, sports cars, beautiful women and a seeming disregard for police officers.

Mr Fresco said that on another occasion, he had been driving when Mr Pistorius fired a gun out of a sunroof after police stopped him for speeding.

He said Mr Pistorius had become angry after a police officer handled his gun, which was on the back seat of the car.

"You can't just touch another man's gun," said Mr Pistorius, according to Mr Fresco.

"Now your fingerprints are all over my gun. So if something happens, you're going to be liable for anything that happens," Mr Pistorius reportedly warned the officer.

The BBC's Pumza Fihlani says Mr Pistorius was far more composed than on previous days. He sat cross-legged, looking straight at his friend and taking notes.

Mr Fresco's testimony, our correspondent adds, has given the court a glimpse into the fast life he shared with his friend - guns, sports cars, beautiful women and a seeming disregard for police officers.

Mr Pistorius' ex-girlfriend described the same incident in court in the first week of the trial.

Samantha Taylor said both men had been agitated after police stopped them and had joked about "shooting a robot [traffic light]".

Mr Fresco denied making the joke and said that the mood had been calm before the shot was fired "without warning".

He said he had been left feeling as if his ears were bleeding and that Mr Pistorius had laughed after firing the shot.

The trial has now been adjourned until Wednesday.

Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius Oscar Pistorius shot Reeva Steenkamp through a bathroom door

Earlier, Mr Pistorius' defence team questioned a pathologist's finding that his girlfriend had eaten less than two hours before he killed her.

This contradicts the athlete's account that the pair had been in bed for several hours before the shooting.

Pathologist Gert Saayman said Ms Steenkamp had been shot three times, in the head, hip and arm but that he did not know the order of the injuries.

If she had been shot in the hip or arm first, screaming would have been expected, he said.

Neighbours have previously said they heard a woman screaming before the shots were fired but Mr Pistorius' defence lawyers argue that the athlete was the only one who screamed.

INTERACTIVE
  • ×

  • 1. Balcony

    × Balcony

    Mr Pistorius said in his statement at the start of the trial that he woke in the early hours and walked on his stumps to the balcony, pulled in two fans, closed the sliding door and drew curtains. He said that shortly before he had spoken to Reeva, who was in bed beside him.

    He said he rejected prosecution claims that a witness heard arguing coming from the house before the shooting.

  • 2. Bathroom window

    ×

    Mr Pistorius said he heard the bathroom window sliding open and believed that an intruder, or intruders, had entered the bathroom through a window which was not fitted with burglar bars.

    "Unbeknown to me, Reeva must have gone to the toilet in the bathroom at the time I brought in the fans," he said.

    Mr Pistorius said he approached the bathroom armed with his firearm, to defend himself and his girlfriend, believing Ms Steenkamp was still in bed.

  • 3. Shooting

    ×

    Both sides agree four bullets were fired. Ms Steenkamp was hit three times.

    Mr Pistorius said he fired his weapon after hearing a noise in the toilet which he thought was the intruder coming out of the toilet to attack him and Ms Steenkamp.

    He said he was in a fearful state, knowing he was on his stumps and unable to run away or properly defend himself.

    Mr Pistorius said he rejected claims that he was on his prostheses when he shot at the door.

    A witness told the trial she woke to hear a woman screaming and a man shouting for help. She said that after the screams she heard four shots.

  • 4. Bedroom

    ×

    Mr Pistorius said he went back to the bedroom after shooting at the toilet door, still shouting for Reeva. Lifting himself up onto the bed, he felt over to the right hand side of it and noticed Ms Steenkamp was not there.

    Mr Pistorius said this was when he realised she could have been in the toilet.

  • 5. Toilet door

    ×

    Mr Pistorius said he went back to the bathroom but the toilet was locked, so he returned to the bedroom, pulled on his prosthetic legs, turned on the lights before bashing in the toilet door with a cricket bat.

    Forensics expert Johannes Vermeulen told the court that the height of the marks on the door caused by the cricket bat suggest Mr Pistorius was on his stumps at the time.

  • 6. Emergency calls

    ×

    Mr Pistorius's defence team say he then called security at the gated housing complex and a private paramedic service before carrying Ms Steenkamp downstairs.

    A security guard claimed it was the other way round, and he had called Mr Pistorius first after reports of gunfire. However, phone records shown to the court revealed Mr Pistorius called the estate manager at 3:19am, a minute later he called the ambulance service and at 3:21am he called estate security.

    A minute later he received an incoming call - estate security calling him back.

    According to police phone expert Francois Moller, Mr Pistorius called his friend Justin Divaris a short time later and just after 4:00am he called his brother Carl.

When pressed by defence lawyer Barry Roux, Dr Saayman said that there could be an error of "an hour or two" in his estimation of when Ms Steenkamp last ate.

"Gastric emptying is not an exact science My Lady but I don't think we should throw out the baby with the proverbial bathwater," Dr Saayman said.

Judge Thokozile Masipa banned live coverage of Monday's testimony from the post-mortem because of its graphic nature.

Mr Pistorius has appeared distraught as the events of 14 February 2013 have been recounted in the court in Pretoria.

He was physically sick as Dr Saayman presented his evidence about the nature of Ms Steenkamp's injuries.

The state is seeking to convince the court that Mr Pistorius and Ms Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, reality TV star and law graduate, had an argument before the athlete fired the shots that killed his girlfriend.

There are no juries at trials in South Africa, and his fate will ultimately be decided by the judge, assisted by two assessors.

If found guilty, the 27-year-old, a national sporting hero dubbed the "blade runner" after having both lower legs amputated, could face life imprisonment.

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