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Shout tests done at Pistorius house

Oscar Pistorius's defence recreated screams and shouts in tests at his Pretoria home last month as part of submissions to challenge testimony against the murder-accused paralympian.

“On the 21st of February there were indeed tests done and part of the tests was a woman screaming, loud, as loud as she could,” said Barry Roux SC in the High Court in Pretoria.

He has submitted that the screams witnesses have said they heard, were actually Pistorius’s because his voice sounds like a woman’s when he is anxious.

He said it was not possible for Pistorius’s girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to scream when was shot dead by him on Valentine’s Day morning last year because she had suffered severe brain damage, leaving her with no cognitive function.

A previous witness, Estelle van der Merwe, a neighbour in the upmarket estate, also said she heard shouting on February 21 this year.

The defence has placed heavy emphasis on the sequence and gender of the screams heard from Pistorius’s house on the morning Steenkamp was shot dead.

The State’s case is that Pistorius and Steenkamp had an argument before she was shot, and that her murder was premeditated.

His defence is that he thought there was a burglar in the toilet cubicle of the bathroom when he fired four shots through the meranti door, killing her. Then he broke the door down with a cricket bat and took her downstairs.

The latest witness, radiologist Johan Stipp, who said he later saw Pistorius next to her praying for her to live, said he heard the noises.

Stipp told the court, under cross-examination by Roux, that on the night Steenkamp was shot, he had heard a woman’s scream, intermingled with a man’s screams.

The test of February 21 is the second so far revealed to the court in the defence’s bid to prove Pistorius’s innocence on a charge of murder.

On Thursday, Roux revealed that a decibel test had been conducted of his voice to prove that his voice pitch changes.

The trial has seen the showcasing of several features not usually found in South African court cases. Screens are placed around the court for the display of photographs taken as exhibits to show the distance between the houses of Pistorius and witnesses, images such as close up of a shot fired into the floor of Tasha’s restaurant in Melrose Arch, allegedly by Pistorius, a long shot of Pistorius’s bathroom window taken over the duvet cover and night light of Stipp and his wife Annette’s bedroom.

Sound and visuals feed to accommodate the extra journalists and public interested in watching the trial first hand are screened in an “overflow room”.

It is being broadcast live as a result of a precedent-setting court order by Judge Dunstan Mlambo, in addition to tweets of the testimony from inside the court.

Pistorius also faces charges under the Firearms Act relating to the alleged discharge of a firearm in public in separate incidents.

– Sapa

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