UK & World News

  • 25 March 2014, 23:03

Pistorius Trial Hears Messages From 'Baba'

Only four out of more than 1,700 messages exchanged between Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp were of them arguing, the athlete's murder trial has heard.

Texts and WhatsApp messages have been extracted from their phones and were pored over in court for a second day.

Defence lawyer Barry Roux said in spite of their arguments, the couple were exchanging "crosses, baby, things like that". In one message, the runner referred to her as "Baba", while she called him "Ozzy".

In another, Ms Steenkamp said to her boyfriend: "You are a very special person. You deserve to be looked after."

Pistorius had tears running down his cheeks while the messages were read out. Ms Steenkamp's mother June also sobbed.

Emotional exchanges between the pair were read out on Monday. In one of them Ms Steenkamp texted Pistorius to say "I am sometimes scared of you". This was sent just weeks before she died.

Sky's Special Correspondent Alex Crawford said of Tuesday's proceedings: "Roux is working very hard at painting this picture of South Africa's Romeo and Juliet, the star-crossed lovers in a WhatsApp age."

Under questioning from chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel, police IT expert Captain Francois Moller said there were no long, loving messages. This was a contrast Mr Nel tried to make with the texts of them arguing.

The court also heard communications data extracted from Pistorius' phone showed he was online an hour before Ms Steenkamp was shot. In his bail application, Pistorius said the pair had gone to sleep around 10pm.

There was activity on Ms Steenkamp's phone 11 hours after she died, records showed.

But the hearing was told incoming emails, updates or open websites could all give the impression of internet activity.

Phone records also showed Pistorius made a flurry of calls after the shooting. The first was to estate manager Johan Stander at 3.19am, followed by the ambulance service a minute later. He then rang security.

The court heard there were five calls between Pistorius and Ms Steenkamp on the afternoon before she died - February 13. All of the conversations lasted less than five minutes.

Forensic expert Colonel Johannes Vermeulen returned to face more questions, and stood by his claim Pistorius was on his stumps when he knocked down a locked toilet door to reach Ms Steenkamp.

Pistorius said he put his prosthetic legs on, and his lawyer Mr Roux said he would present evidence that there was a third mark on the door consistent with this.

The trial has been adjourned until Friday so the athlete's defence team can consult with unused prosecution witnesses they might want to call.

Speaking outside afterwards, Pistorius said: "It's a tough time. We've still got a lot of stuff ahead of us."

Pistorius is accused of the premeditated murder of Ms Steenkamp, but says he shot her by mistake after mistaking her for an intruder.

He is also accused of illegally possessing ammunition and two further counts related to shooting a gun in public in two separate incidents before the killing. He denies all of the charges.

The trial is expected to last until the middle of May.

Advertisement