Pistorius: former girlfriend testifies on gunplay
PRETORIA, South Africa—A former girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius testified Friday at the double-amputee runner’s murder trial that he always carried a firearm and that their relationship ended when he cheated on her with Reeva Steenkamp, the woman he fatally shot last year.
Samantha Taylor also said Pistorius carried a gun with him “all the time” when they were dating, and on one occasion he fired it out of a car’s sunroof soon after a policeman stopped the car they were in for speeding.
Taylor, who started dating Pistorius in 2011 after meeting him the previous year, described another incident in which she and Pistorius were followed by an unidentified car as he drove home.
“When we arrived at his estate, he jumped out of the car with his gun and held it to someone’s window and then they drove away,” Taylor said.
The court adjourned briefly after Taylor broke down in tears while describing how Pistorius cheated on her with another woman, before he began his relationship with Steenkamp. It adjourned again when she wept while describing problems in her relationship with Pistorius, the first amputee to run in the Olympics.
Earlier, Taylor said: “He cheated on me with Reeva Steenkamp.”
Pistorius, 27, took Steenkamp to a sports award event in November 2012 even though, Taylor said, she and the runner had been at Sun City, an entertainment complex, just a week before while experiencing “a lot of commotion” in their relationship.
Defense lawyer Barry Roux said he would produce emails between Taylor and Pistorius to show the alleged cheating with Steenkamp was untrue, and he also sought to highlight apparent gaps in Taylor’s memory of the shooting incident on a road in September 2012.
Darren Fresco, a friend of Pistorius, was driving the car that was stopped by police who then asked the two men to get out of the car, said Taylor, who was in the car at the time. The police officer then saw Pistorius’ gun on the seat of the car, she said.
“He said to Oscar that the gun could not just be left on the seat there,” Taylor said, adding that bullets fell out of the gun “and then Oscar got very angry and eventually they gathered the bullets.”
An angry Pistorius shouted at the officer and later, after leaving the scene, he fired the gun out of the sunroof, she said. He and Fresco were laughing at the time, according to Taylor. Roux said Pistorius had denied the incident.
Pistorius says he killed Steenkamp in his home in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 by mistake, thinking she was an intruder. Prosecutors say he intentionally killed her after an argument.
Roux has contended that other witnesses who testified to hearing a woman’s screams on the night of the killing were mistaken, and that they were actually hearing the high-pitched screams of Pistorius after he realized that he had shot Steenkamp. The athlete has pleaded not guilty to murder and several firearms charges.
Taylor, however, said she had heard Pistorius shouting at her and other people and that he did not sound like a woman.
“He sounds like a man,” she said.