A witness at the murder trial of South African double-amputee Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius has depicted him as a gun lover who once shot through the sunroof of a car to amuse himself.
Pistorius’ ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor testified on the fifth day of the trial on Friday that Pistorius always carried his gun with him and placed it next to his bed at night.
Taylor described an incident on September 30, 2012, when she was with Pistorius and their friend Darren Fresco in a car.
Police stopped them for speeding and saw Pistorius’ pistol, prompting the athlete, who has a licence to carry a gun, to shout that the officer was not allowed to touch the weapon, she said.
After the three took off again with Fresco at the wheel, the two men said they wanted to shoot at traffic lights, she testified. Pistorius then fired a shot through the open sunroof of the car with both men laughing, she said.
“The shot was fired because they were angry with the police,” Taylor said.
“They found it funny because they were irritating the police.”
Taylor, who was the eighth witness to testify at the trial, said she broke up with Pistorius because he was cheating on her with Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius, 27, is charged with the premeditated murder of Steenkamp, his model girlfriend whom he shot through the bathroom door in his Pretoria home on February 14, 2013.
He said he mistook her for an intruder.
The athlete also faces three separate gun-related charges at the trial, which is expected to last two more weeks.
During Taylor’s testimony, Pistorius stared steadfastly at the witness, who broke into tears several times.
Another witness this week described an incident in which Pistorius was with Fresco and other friends at a restaurant. The witness said Fresco handed Pistorius his gun and the athlete fired a shot at the floor, apparently accidentally. He then asked Fresco to take the blame for the incident, according to the testimony.
Both the alleged shots in the restaurant and through the sunroof are among the gun-related charges filed against Pistorius.
But the proceedings have focused on Steenkamp’s killing with several witnesses testifying they heard a woman scream as if her life were in danger on the night she died.
One of Pistorius’ neighbours who is also a doctor described on Thursday how he found Pistorius crouching next to the wounded Steenkamp. He said the athlete cried profusely and asked God to save her.
Pistorius, whose legs were amputated before his first birthday because of a congenital defect, became the first amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in the Olympics in London in 2012.
His carbon-fibre prostheses earned him the nickname “Blade Runner”.
Hundreds of journalists are in Pretoria to report on the world’s most high-profile trial involving an athlete since the 1994-95 proceedings against American football star OJ Simpson.
The trial, featuring more than 100 witnesses, is the first in South Africa to be partly televised live.
If found guilty of murder, Pistorius could receive a life sentence, which would require him to spend a minimum of 25 years in prison.