PRETORIA, South Africa -- Oscar Pistorius told a concerned security guard on the phone that everything was “fine” after neighbors reported gunshots coming from the athlete’s house the night he shot dead his girlfriend, according to testimony in the South African murder trial Friday.
The security guard, Pieter Baba, testified that Pistorius phoned him back moments after the initial brief conversation, but then started crying, didn’t say anything and the line went dead. It was minutes after the double-amputee Olympian fatally shot Reeva Steenkamp, for which Pistorius is now on trial for murder.
“Not everything was in order as Mr. Pistorius was telling me,” Baba recalled saying to a fellow guard as they were outside the runner’s villa in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day last year.
Baba’s testimony followed a damaging description of Pistorius’ character by a former girlfriend.
Samantha Taylor, who cried twice during her time on the stand in the Pretoria court, said that Pistorius always carried a firearm when they dated, sometimes shouted angrily at her and her friends, once shot his gun out the sunroof of a car, and that their relationship ended when he cheated on her with Steenkamp.
There were murmurs in court when Taylor revealed what she said was the reason for their relationship ending. Taylor said she started going out with Pistorius in 2011 when she was 17 and the relationship finally ended in November 2012.
Taylor described some of Pistorius’ habits while they were dating, including what side of the bed he slept on at home and where he kept his gun during the night. Taylor’s observations of what Pistorius did when they were together show different habits from what he says he did when he shot Steenkamp with his licensed 9 mm pistol.
Pistorius, 27, is charged with premeditated murder for killing Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model. Prosecutors charge he did it during an argument but he insists it was a mistake, and that he fired through the locked toilet door in his bathroom believing an intruder was behind it.
On the night Steenkamp died, security guard Baba had taken the short drive from the main gate of the enclosed estate to Pistorius’ home with a colleague after neighbors called to report sounds like gunshots from that direction, the guard said.
He called Pistorius after seeing lights on in the house, and Pistorius told him everything was OK and the call ended. Soon after, Pistorius called back, said Baba.
“Maybe he wasn’t sure about calling me back,” Baba testified. “He just started crying over the phone. That’s when the line went off.”
A few minutes later, Johan Stander, a manager of the housing complex who Pistorius says he called to get an ambulance, arrived with his daughter and the group went to the front door of the house and someone pushed it open.
“I saw Mr. Pistorius coming down (the stairs) with Reeva,” Baba said. “I was so shocked. I started regaining my senses when Mr. Stander said `Oscar.“’