Pretoria: An ex-police officer told Oscar Pistorius' murder trial yesterday that his colleagues were clumsy with evidence and even stole a luxury watch from the crime scene.
Former station chief Giliam van Rensburg, who was among the first officers on the scene of the Valentine's Day 2013 killing and the one who arrested Pistorius, retired from the police last year.
He testified that a fellow officer handled the Paralympian spring star's gun without gloves and that a watch worth as much as USD 10,000 (7,000 euros) went missing, calling into question the police's broader handling of the investigation.
The police officers' conduct could have a strong bearing on the outcome of the trial, if Judge Thokozile Masipa believes vital forensic evidence was tainted or even tampered with — as the defence alleges.
Van Rensburg walked the court through photos taken shortly after Reeva Steenkamp was shot on February 14, 2013. They included nightmare images of the 29-year-old model's fatal head wound and photos of a shirtless Pistorius covered in blood shortly after the shooting.