The Oscar Pistorius murder trial has been shown photographs of his gun lying on a mat on the bloodstained floor of his bathroom, as the court was given a detailed picture of the scene where he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
One of the first two police officers to arrive at the house to investigate the shooting testified that he followed a “trail of blood” when he got there.
Former police colonel GS van Rensburg said he traced spots and bigger blood marks downstairs where Ms Steenkamp lay dead from three gunshot wounds and followed them across the floor, up the stairs, through a small lounge area and then into Pistorius’s bedroom.
Mr van Rensburg told how he then finally reached the bathroom where the athlete shot his girlfriend in the early hours of Valentine’s Day last year.
There, Mr van Rensburg said, he found Pistorius’s gun on a mat. There were also spent bullet casings, mobile phones and a blood-soaked towel on the bathroom floor, and the cricket bat Pistorius says he used to break down the toilet door.
In the toilet cubicle, there was a darker pool of blood and the wooden splinters where the locked door, through which Pistorius shot the model, had been smashed in.
Yesterday, Pistorius was again seen burying his face in a plastic bucket when photographs of Ms Steenkamp’s injuries were displayed in the Pretoria courtroom. He sobbed loudly and began retching, prompting prosecutors to ask for a break.
Pistorius, 27, faces a possible life sentence if convicted of murder. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him and says he shot the 29-year-old by mistake, thinking she was an intruder. Prosecutors contest he intentionally killed her after an argument.
Details in the photos were highlighted by the prosecution as part of their case.
One was a gun holster on the side of the bed where Pistorius says Ms Steenkamp, and not him, was sleeping that night. The gun rested on a small towel that was clean and out of kilter with the bloodstains around it, head prosecutor Gerrie Nel noted.
The size of the bedroom suggested Pistorius had to walk close to where he says he thought Ms Steenkamp was still sleeping to get to the bathroom.
As Mr van Rensburg was led through each photograph by Mr Nel, Pistorius mainly kept his head down and appeared to avoid looking at the TV monitors where the images were shown.
Mr van Rensburg confirmed the photos reflected how he found the scene when he got there just before 4am – about 30 to 40 minutes after prosecutors say Pistorius shot Ms Steenkamp.
The photos provided vivid images. Bloodstains from the severe wounds he inflicted on his girlfriend were seen on a white wall close to a group of glittering trophies in the Paralympic champion’s home.
Upstairs, there was a black airgun rifle and a blue baseball bat near the door to Pistorius’s bedroom. Pictures of the bedroom showed a cabinet with multiple sets of sunglasses and a box of watches, as well as bloodstains on the carpets and across a mirror on the watch box.