Testosterone and syringes found at Pistorius house, claim police
Wednesday, 20 February 2013
February 20 - South African police have allged that officers found testosterone and syringes at the home of Oscar Pistorius after searching the Silver Lakes complex in Pretoria following the death of Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day.
The claims came as the 26-year-old six-time Paralympic champion returned to Pretoria Magistrates' Court today for the second day of his bail hearing, which was delayed by more than an hour as people queued to get in.
The allegation, which, if true, would cast a huge shadow over Pistroius' career, which include winning six Paralympic gold medals and a silver in the 4x400 metres relay at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships.
His defence team denied the allegations, accusing the prosecution of trying to "extract the most possibly negative connotation" to tarnish his reputation.
Pistorius, who became the first double leg amputee to compete at the Olympic Games at London 2012, is charged with the premeditated murder of 29-year-old girlfriend Steenkamp, but has denied murdering the model in the early hours last Thursday (February 14).
Hilton Botha, the South African Police Service senior investigating officer, told the court today claimed the performance-enhancing drug testosterone was found in a bedroom cabinet during a search of the athlete's home.
Reports anabolic steroids had been found at the Pistorius home first emerged in the South African media this week, leading to speculation that the athlete had the short-term mental condition "roid rage" when he allegedly murdered his girlfriend.
But Pistorius' defence lawyer Barry Roux hit back, saying that the drugs seized by police are not illegal performance enhancers and actually a herbal remedy.
"It was not a steroid and it is not a banned substance," Roux told the court.
"[The police are taking] every piece of evidence and try to extract the most possibly negative connotation and present it to the court."
The herbal remedy, Roux claimed, was testo-composutim co-enzyme used by several athletes and which was not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The prosecution did not accuse Pistorius of directly using or abusing the substance but if evidence did not emerge during any trial that he had been using banned drugs it could trigger an investigation by the International Paralympic Committee.
As insidethegames reported on Monday (February 18), Pistorius was tested twice for drugs at the London 2012 Paralympics on August 25 and September 8 last year, with both proving negative.
The murder charge against him is the most serious "schedule six" offence, meaning the defence will have to prove extenuating circumstances that would justify granting bail.
In another gripping day in court, Botha, the first officer at the scene following the Steenkamp death, told how a witness heard gunshots, screaming and then more shots fired at the home of Pistorius following the alleged murder.
"We have the statement of a person who said after he heard gunshots, he went to his balcony and saw the light was on," he said.
"Then he heard a female screaming two-three times, then more gunshots."
Botha said he arrived at the house at 4.15am and found Steenkamp lying dead on the ground floor wearing white shorts and a black vest, while she was covered in towels.
He claimed Steenkamp was shot in the right side of her head, her right hip and her right elbow and that he thought the bullets were fired "down", suggesting Pistorius had his prosthetic legs on.
Pistorius has claimed he was walking on his stumps, making him feel particularly vulnerable, but the prosecution has argued he stopped to put his legs on, adding weight to its case that the shooting was premeditated.
The session was adjourned until tomorrow, when there could be a ruling on the bail issue.
Botha suggested that Pistorius may flee if he is granted bail, but tonight he will again be held at Brooklyn police station.
Sources in the court suggest that Magistrate Desmond Nair appears close to granting bail following a strong day for the defence team.
A full trial of Pistorius though, is not expected for at least four months.
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