News World Pistorius sells home to fund ‘small army of lawyers’

Pistorius sells home to fund ‘small army of lawyers’

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Oscar Pistorius has sold the upmarket Pretoria home where he shot dead his girlfriend, as legal fees mounted from his lengthy murder trial that continued Friday.

The $US480,000 ($A519,000) house was put on the market earlier this year as the athlete struggled to pay a small army of lawyers who are fighting the murder charges on his behalf.

They include three of South Africa’s leading defence attorneys, a raft of ballistics and forensic experts and a US crime scene reconstruction company.

On Friday, the defence team attempted to show that police investigators got the order of shots wrong, and that the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp through the door of the toilet was an accident.

Ballistics expert Wollie Wolmarans said Steenkamp was close to the toilet door and leaning slightly forward when the first of four “rapid” gunshots hit her hip.

The next bullets hit her arm and hand, and the final bullet hit her head as she was falling backward.

The expert testimony bolsters the defence claim that Steenkamp was reaching for the toilet door handle when she was shot by Pistorius, not cowering in fear.

Pistorius claims he shot his 29-year-old girlfriend by accident, believing her to be an intruder in his Pretoria home.

In cross examination state prosecutor Gerrie Nel attempted to show that a reconstruction of the crime scene by Wolmarans was impossible, arguing Steenkamp was shot in the head in a seated position by the toilet bowl.

Nel said the model and law graduate could not have been shot and fallen backwards, hitting her back on the wood magazine rack, as the defence describes in its reconstruction of early Valentine’s Day morning last year.

“If your reconstruction is considered, she would never have ended up on the right hand side of the toilet, with her head on the toilet,” said Nel.

“My lady, I disagree, anything could have happened in that toilet,” said Wolmarans.

“Anything in this world is possible but the court would be more interested if an expert deals with the possibility of what happened,” Nel retorted.

Pistorius began the day in good spirits, cracking a rare smile in court as he greeted Wolmarans, an ex-policeman with over 30 years’ experience in ballistics.

Yet as Wolmarans testified on graphic details about Steenkamp’s death, the world famous athlete bent his head in the dock, shielding his eyes with his hand from photos of the bloody crime scene shown on the court television monitors.