Pretoria: Oscar Pistorius was passionate about guns, a friend testified on Tuesday, telling the court how the Paralympian had fired a gun through a sunroof and again inside a crowded restaurant.
"We had been to the shooting range before and I knew he had a big love of weapons," said Darren Fresco in his testimony during the South African sprinter's trial for shooting dead his girlfriend. Prosecutors have levelled two counts of firing a gun in public against Pistorius, as well as the murder charge.
He faces a fourth charge of illegal possession of unlicensed ammunition. The 27-year-old double amputee has pleaded not guilty to all four charges.
Fresco was with Pistorius when he fired a gun through the sunroof of a moving car in 2012. Pistorius shot at a traffic light after a row with traffic police. Fresco and Pistorius's then-girlfriend Samantha Taylor were also in the car.
"I was driving, the accused was in the passenger seat, Sam Taylor was in the back of the car, and without prior warning he shot out of the sunroof," said Fresco. "Once I'd flinched over to the right-hand side of the vehicle, having backed down, I saw the weapon being brought back into the car through the sunroof."
Asked of his reaction, Fresco told Judge Thokozile Masipa: "Apologies my lady but I asked if he was 'fucking mad'." "He just laughed."
Pistorius had reportedly been angry because a traffic police officer had touched his gun, which lay on the passenger seat when the car was pulled over for speeding. "Then there was an altercation, a verbal altercation between the accused and the metro police officer," said Fresco.
"'You can't just touched another man's gun'," the athlete was said to have remarked angrily. "'Now your fingerprints are all over the gun, so once something happens you are going to be liable,'" he said, according to Fresco.
Fresco also testified about the shooting incident at Tashas restaurant in January 2013, when his gun went off while Pistorius was inspecting the weapon. A bullet slightly grazed the toe of another friend, boxer Kevin Lerena, who testified last Wednesday.
Pistorius then asked Fresco to take the blame, which Fresco agreed to do. "Instantly he passed the weapon back to me, under the table, and he said 'Please, there's too much media hype around me at the moment, please can you take the rap?' according to Fresco.
Meanwhile the pathologist Prof. Gert Saayman who conducted an autopsy on the girlfriend shot by Pistorius testified for a second day.
Saayman has asserted that, judging by the food contents in her stomach, Steenkamp probably last ate no more than two hours before her death. Steenkamp was shot after 3 a.m., meaning she must have eaten after 1 a.m. Pistorius has said the couple was in the bedroom by 10 p.m.
Defence Lawyer Barry Roux asked Saayman what medical texts he had consulted in reaching his conclusion about the food, and said he wanted to see them. Saayman said his findings were a "synthesis" of his own professional experiences and observations in addition to consultation of past studies.
Saayman also said the amount of urine in Steenkamp's bladder at the time of her death amounted to the rough equivalent of a teaspoon. The evidence could relate to theories about whether Steenkamp had gotten up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet, as Pistorius contends, or was there following a loud argument with the runner, as the prosecution has suggested.
The pathologist said he had conducted between 10,000 and 15,000 autopsies over 30 years. On Monday the 27-year-old athlete retched loudly into a blue bucket on Monday as Saayman detailed the wounds that caused the death of the Paralympian star's girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times with a nine millimetre pistol on Valentine's Day last year in what prosecutors charge was premeditated murder and he says was an accident.
The 29-year-old model and aspiring actress was hit once in the top right of her head, once in the right elbow and once in the right hip. She was also struck in the webbing of her left hand. Any of the head, arm or hip wounds could have caused her death, Saayman said in testimony the media were banned from reporting live, including on Twitter.
The double-amputee used "Black Talon" hollow-point bullets, which mushroom open like a jagged flower on contact to cause maximum tissue damage, according to the post-mortem report.