Croydon’s Olympic sprinter Martyn Rooney was with Oscar Pistorius and two other dinner guests in a restaurant when the “Blade Runner” is alleged to have fired a pistol, a court in Pretoria heard this week during the South African Paralympian’s murder trial.
Pistorius is on trial for the premeditated killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s day last year.
Rooney has been a long-time friend and sometime training partner of Pistorius, and was a regular house guest at the home Pistorious shared with Steenkamp during warm weather training trips to South Africa, including 12 months ago, until just a few days before the fateful shooting.
Pistorius’s defence is that Steenkamp’s shooting was an accident, a case of mistaken identity when he believed there was an intruder in the house.
Pistorius made history at the 2012 London Games when he became the first double amputee to compete in the track events at the Olympics.
It emerged in court on Wednesday, in evidence given by another sporting friend of Pistorius, Kevin Lerena, that Rooney was one of four diners at Tashas restaurant in Johannesburg when a pistol went off. The gun allegedly fired when another friend passed it under the table to Pistorius.
The bullet grazed Lerena’s foot. “A shot went off in the restaurant, then there was just complete silence,” said Lerena under questioning by the prosecution into another of the charges faced by Pistorius. “Once the shot went off, I was shocked. I looked down, and just where my foot was stationary, there was a hole in the floor.”
Lerena, who is a professional boxer, continued to explain how Pistorius had asked another of the dinner guests, Darren Fresco, the owner of the gun, to take the blame for the shot. Lerena said that Pistorius had said: “Please, I don’t want any attention around me. Just say it was you.”
Pistorius is also charged with firing a gun through a moving car’s sunroof and with the illegal possession of ammunition.
The prosecution is using these incidents to illustrate past reckless behaviour before his girlfriend’s death.
Rooney has maintained silence about his friendship with Pistorius and the shooting since he returned from South Africa just days before the incident.
Coming to Croydon
- Fairtrade stall at Food Market, Haynes Lane, Mar 8
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, Mar 15
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 20
- South Norwood Lakes Playground group workshop, Mar 25
- David Lean Cinema: Basically Johnny Moped, Mar 27-28
- Croydon Half-marathon, Mar 30
- David Lean Cinema: 12 Years a Slave, Apr 3
- David Lean Cinema: The Great Beauty, Apr 10
- David Lean Cinema: Inside Llewyn Davis, Apr 17
- Opening of Marlpit Lane bowling and putting greens, Apr 17
- David Lean Cinema: Short Term, Apr 24
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
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