“Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp exchanged numerous intimate, caring messages in the days before he killed her, a police witness testified under cross-examination in the athlete’s murder trial on Tuesday (25/03/2014).
Police cellphone expert Francois Moller confirmed that shortly before her death, Steenkamp offered to cook dinner for Pistorius on Valentine’s Day and he gladly accepted.
“Baby can I cook for you on Thursday?” went the message, one of 1709 exchanged between the couple and downloaded by investigators as trial evidence.
“I’d love that, nunu” responded Pistorius, who fatally shot Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door in his house in the early hours of February 14 last year.
Messages sent on the 13th, show that Steenkamp was asked for coffee by an ex-boyfriend but offered to defer that meeting to be with Pistorius. In turn, he assured her that she could ahead, as he had appointments.
On Monday, Moller read out four WhatsApp messages in the High Court in Pretoria that clearly indicated the couple had experienced conflict. In one, Steenkamp suggested that Pistorius was jealous and in another she said plainly that she was scared of his short temper.
“I’m scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me and of how you will react to me,” she wrote on January 27.
On Tuesday, Barry Roux, for Pistorius, asked Moller to read out conciliatory messages the couple sent each other early the next morning, indicating that they were trying to put the argument behind them.
The following evening, the model and law graduate sent Pistorius a message reading: “Truth is, i miss you,” and he replied: “I’m missing you so, so much!”
Said Roux to the witness: “So there was a disagreement but if you look at the emails it was resolved very quickly.”
Moller agreed, readily reiterating his earlier testimony that 90 percent of the messages the couple sent each other were “loving”.
Roux added: “I think it’s a bit higher, the percentages, but it’s not important,” and stressed that Steenkamp and Pistorius had a range of pet names for each other and their messages were strewn with kisses.
He then asked Moller to read further messages, sent closer to Steenkamp’s death.
On February 4, Steenkamp wrote: “If you want to go chill with him that’s cool angel… I can come to you whenever.”
Pistorius replied: “No baba, I want to chill with you.”
After initial objection from State prosecutor Gerrie Nel, Roux was allowed to show the court grainy CCTV footage of the couple kissing while shopping for groceries at a filling station on February 4,
He then asked Moller to read out a message Steenkamp sent on February 11.
“I’m always on your side but mostly pro us and the health of our relationship,” she wrote, and again: “I have said a small prayer for both of us.”
Also on February 11, Pistorius sent a message reading: “I miss you one more than you miss me always” to which she replied: “Impossible”.
The State contends that Pistorius wilfully shot Steenkamp after the couple argued.
Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder and claimed that he mistakenly believed he was targeting an intruder when he fired four shots through a locked toilet door in his Pretoria townhouse, fatally wounding Steenkamp.
In his plea statement, he denied that they had argued.
Moller on Tuesday contradicted testimony from one of the State’s earlier witnesses, a security guard at the Silver Woods estate in Pretoria where Pistorius lived.
Pieter Baba had testified that he phoned Pistorius after the shooting and was told nothing about the shooting. He said Pistorius had cried but assured him everything was “fine”.
Roux has disputed this, saying Pistorius in fact phoned the guard.
Moller said the mobile phone records showed that the athlete had in fact made the first call, and that Baba then phoned back.
The trial is in its fourth week and is set to continue until May 16. – Sapa