Police reconstruct toilet door in court for Pistorius murder trial

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A forensic expert has demonstrated to a murder court how Oscar Pistorius may have used a cricket bat on the door of his toilet to get to his girlfriend who died when he shot through the door.

JG Vermeulen said he believed the double amputee was on his stumps when he swung his bat at the brown cubicle door, and the expert witness got down on his knees to demonstrate to the courtroom using a cricket bat and a mock bathroom erected in court.

But the defence team insisted instead that Pistorius was wearing his prosthetic legs when hitting the door in the early hours of Valentine’s Day last year – and the marks from the bat on the door were lower down because the athlete swung with a bent back.

The argument is crucial because police dispute Pistorius’s account of events that night. They are trying to show he must have known Reeva Steenkamp was behind the door because of her screams and that they can show that he is lying about the order of events.

The athlete has said he fearfully approached the bathroom on his stumps on February 14 last year and shot Ms Steenkamp by mistake, thinking she was an intruder hiding behind the door. According to his account, he then put on his prostheses and tried to kick down the locked toilet door, and battered it with a cricket bat.

Prosecutors maintain he intentionally shot the 29-year-old model and have charged him with murder. He pleaded not guilty to all charges against him, which also include three firearm allegations.

The actual door that Pistorius shot through a year ago was erected in the Pretoria courtroom today. The bat he used that night was also used in the dramatic demonstration. There was even a toilet behind the door.

Mr Vermeulen, who said he has 29 years of experience as a forensic analyst, said marks on the door showed that Pistorius was on his stumps when he hit it with the bat. Defence lawyer Barry Roux countered that Pistorius hit the door with a “bent back” but the prosecution said he would have been bent into an unnatural position that would have made a forceful swing impossible.

The case continues.