Detective in Pistorius trial: "I believe he knew that Reeva was in the bathroom"

Police also found needles and a substance believed to be testosterone at Pistorius' residence

By Katie McDonough

Published February 20, 2013 2:53PM (EST)


Testifying at Oscar Pistorius' bail hearing Wednesday, police detective warrant officer Hilton Botha said that, despite Pistorius' sworn affidavit maintaining his innocence, he believes "that [Pistorius] knew that Reeva [Steenkamp] was in the bathroom and he shot four shots through the door," killing Steenkamp.

Botha, who was the first officer at the scene, also said another witness had testified to hearing screams and gunshots from the house in the early morning hours of Feb. 14.

"We have the statement of a person who said after he heard gunshots, he went to his balcony and saw the light was on. Then he heard a female screaming two-three times, then more gunshots," he told the court.

Botha also testified that the trajectory of the bullets indicates a standing height position, challenging the defense's claim that Pistorius had approached the bathroom unaided by his prosthetic legs, making him "feel vulnerable."

Officers also found testosterone and needles when investigating the crime scene, but Pistorius' lawyers say the substance is an herbal supplement.

The substance is “not a steroid and it is not a banned substance,” said Barry Roux, Pistorius’ defense lawyer. He also accused the police of taking “every piece of evidence" to "try to extract the most possibly negative connotation and present it to the court.”

Other testimony also paints a dark picture of Pistorius' violent temper and dangerous use of guns.

As reported by the New York Times:

According to prosecution testimony by a police detective, Hilton Botha, Mr. Pistorius accidentally fired a weapon at a restaurant in January and persuaded a companion to take responsibility. He had also threatened violence in another incident in an altercation about a woman.

Police discovered two smartphones at Pistorius' residence, neither of which had been used to make a call that morning. They also retrieved unlicensed .38 caliber ammunition from the house and, according to the prosecution's testimony, Pistorius’s lawyer and brother may have removed documents relating to offshore bank accounts from a safe in the house.

The prosecution used evidence of offshore accounts to argue that Pistorius is a flight risk, and that he should be denied bail. With the charge of premeditated murder, the magistrate said Pistorius defense must offer "exceptional" reasons for him to be released on bond.

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Domestic Violence Gun Violence Guns Oscar Pistorius Reeva Steenkamp Violence Against Women