Cellphone analyst testifies in Pistorius trial

Police cellphone analyst Captain Francois Moller began testifying on Monday (24/03/2014) afternoon in Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial in the High Court in Pretoria.

He gave evidence on phones given to him after Pistorius shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead on Valentine’s Day last year.

After being sworn in, Moller said he was given four cellphones – two Blackberries and two iPhones, and two iPads and a Macbook computer on February 15 by investigating officer Warrant Officer Hilton Botha.

Botha was taken off the case and later resigned.

Pistorius sent a message to his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp asking her “not to say a thing”, the High Court in Pretoria heard.

“Angel, please don’t say a thing to anyone, Darren told everyone it was his fault. The guys promised they wouldn’t say anything,” Captain Francois Moller read from a WhatsApp message Pistorius sent to Steenkamp on January 11, 2013 at 3.03pm South African time.

Moller extracted data from both Steenkamp’s and Pistorius’s iPhones found in the athlete’s home on February 14 that year. Pistorius is on trial for the premeditated murder of Steenkamp that day.

Pistorius is also charged with firing a gun in a public place, at Tasha’s restaurant in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, in January 2013.

He allegedly asked his friend Darren Fresco to take the blame for the shot that went off.

Pistorius and Steenkamp exchanged a few messages, before she replied: “I won’t always think before I say something, just appreciate that I’m not a liar.”

As Moller read other, longer messages between the couple that revealed conflict between the couple, Pistorius bowed his head and cried quietly.

Moller identified Steenkamp’s cell number which ended with the digits 5353 by going through the last dialled list on Pistorius’s phone.

He took the simcards out of the devices so that they were removed from the network and there could be no communication with or tampering with the devices.

He was under the impression that was the only phone belonging to Steenkamp.

He allocated the number 0020 to that specific device.

Further investigating required applying for Section 205 data access from the service provider to the police.

Moller said he found out that the number was incorrect and the cellphone seized at the crime scene was a number ending with 4949.

He said he only received three sets of detailed billing although he had applied for four numbers.

He realised the handset belonging to Pistorius had a different number, 4949, and he had a second cellphone with the number 2020 that was not seized from the crime scene.

He said the two Blackberry devices seized from the crime scene were last used late 2012, two months before Steenkamp’s fatal shooting.

He found the two simcards inserted in the Blackberry devices were cards inserted through a simswop. He said a simswop was used either when a phone is stolen or if a person started using another phone with a smaller simcard than the Blackberry.

Pistorius has been charged with the murder of Steenkamp and contraventions of the Firearms Control Act. He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

On September 30, 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein. – Sapa

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