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Blood marks in Pistorius’ bedroom emerge as new evidence in murder trial

Oscar Pistorius listens to cross questioning in court of his murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, March 17, 2014. Pistorius is on trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day, 2013.

Siphiwe Sibeko/AP

Follow The Globe and Mail's Africa correspondent Geoffrey York as he tweets from Oscar Pistorius' murder trial.

A blood-spattered bedroom wall and a damaged bedroom door are emerging as mysterious new evidence at the murder trial of Olympic hero Oscar Pistorius.

Blood marks were visible on the wall above the bed and bedside table in the Pistorius bedroom, and on a duvet cover, according to police photographs at the scene after Mr. Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day last year.

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The police photos, shown to court on Monday, also reveal damage to the bedroom door, suggesting that it was opened by force. The court so far has not heard any explanation for the damaged door, or the blood marks on the bedroom wall and duvet.

Mr. Pistorius, the celebrated "Blade Runner" who became the first double-amputee athlete to compete against able-bodied runners at the Olympics, has said that he accidentally shot Ms. Steenkamp through a bathroom door after mistaking her for an intruder.

Mr. Pistorius has said that he carried Ms. Steenkamp down the stairs from the bathroom to seek help for her after the shooting, but this does not seem to explain the blood in the bedroom where they slept.

In earlier testimony on Monday, a firearms instructor described how Mr. Pistorius had taken a gun competency exam and knew that he wasn't supposed to shoot at intruders unless they were armed and threatening his life.

The instructor, Sean Rens, said he helped Mr. Pistorius to purchase a batch of seven guns, including an assault rifle, two shotguns and a Smith & Wesson 500 handgun that has been described as one of the most powerful handguns in the world. Mr. Pistorius cancelled the order about a month after the shooting of Ms. Steenkamp, he said.

In the gun-safety exam, Mr. Pistorius mostly answered "no" to a list of questions about whether he would be permitted to shoot at an intruder in different scenarios. For example, if burglars had broken into his house and were stealing an expensive stereo system, he acknowledged that he wouldn't be allowed to shoot them. If the burglars were behind a security gate, they could not be shot either, he said.

Only if the intruders had weapons and were threatening to kill him would he be allowed to shoot at them, Mr. Pistorius said in the safety exam.

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In answer to a question about "target identification," he wrote: "Know your target and what lies beyond it."

In addition to the shooting of Ms. Steenkamp, the court has heard evidence that Mr. Pistorius deliberately fired his 9mm pistol through the sunroof of a moving car, and accidentally discharged a Glock pistol in a busy restaurant, leaving a bullet hole in the floor.

Mr. Pistorius had a "great love and enthusiasm" for guns, Mr. Rens testified. He said Mr. Pistorius told him about an incident in which he drew his gun and went into "combat mode" or "code red" after hearing a noise in his house. The noise was later found to be a laundry machine.

Mr. Pistorius has also described the incident on his Twitter account, but the tweet has since been deleted.

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About the Author
Africa Bureau Chief

Geoffrey York is The Globe and Mail's Africa correspondent.He has been a foreign correspondent for the newspaper since 1994, including seven years as the Moscow Bureau Chief and seven years as the Beijing Bureau Chief.He is a veteran war correspondent who has covered war zones since 1992 in places such as Somalia, Sudan, Chechnya, Iraq and Afghanistan. More


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