Pretoria – Pushing down on Reeva Steenkamp’s bloody wounds, all Carice Viljoen could tell her frantic neighbour was that the ambulance was on its way.
Oscar Pistorius’s agitated state after he shot Steenkamp (see CNN video of her above) was the focal point of Viljoen’s testimony at the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.
Viljoen, the daughter of Pistorius’s estate security manager, Johan Stander, was called to the stand on Monday directly after her father.
The pair were the first people to arrive at the scene after Pistorius shot Steenkamp.
Defence advocate Barry Roux led Viljoen, who said she was a legal advisor. She said she had built up a friendship with Pistorius, and would sometimes have coffee with him.
She said she had given a statement and a supplementary affidavit to the police about what she saw the night Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp.
She and her father were the first people on the scene after the shooting, after Pistorius had contacted Stander for help.
Viljoen said she had been woken up on the night of the shooting by her dog barking in her bedroom, and the other dogs in the estate making noise as well.
She slept with her balcony door open, and got up to close it. She heard a man screaming “Help, help”, and she closed the sliding door for fear that there was a dangerous situation outside.
She stood by the door, opening it just a crack to try and hear what was going on.
Viljoen said she had gone back to bed, but her heart was pounding. “How am I going to fall asleep now after what I heard?” she asked herself.
She got up and went towards her parents’ room, and told them she had heard someone shouting for help.
Her mother told her Pistorius had called Stander for help. She said it was only about five minutes between the shouts and her deciding to go to her parents’ room.
Viljoen and Stander decided to go together, with the young woman driving to Pistorius’s home. When they arrived, she saw “Frank”, a security guard who worked at the estate who monitored Pistorius’s house.
When she opened the door, she saw Pistorius carrying Steenkamp’s body down his stairs.
“He was walking rather fast, and from the second I walked into that house, he was frantic,” she said. Viljoen said Pistorius was desperately asking to put Steenkamp in the car to take her to hospital. Viljoen began getting emotional when she described Pistorius’s desperation, and took a moment to compose herself.
Pistorius put Steenkamp down on the ground, and her father went outside to call the ambulance.
Viljoen said she knelt down next to Steenkamp, and told Pistorius that they had called the ambulance.
The athlete said he wanted to stop the bleeding, and she ran to grab towels upstairs, and came back down. “He was praying to God the whole time to just save her life,” said Viljoen with a tremor in her voice.
“He was begging and pleading with Reeva to please stay with him,” she added.
They struggled to tie the towels around Steenkamp’s wounds, but they managed to secure Steenkamp’s hip. Pistorius kept the pressure on the wound, and he put his fingers in Steenkamp’s mouth to try and open her airwaves. When he had to get up, Viljoen kept the pressure on the bleeding wound.
He kept asking where the ambulance was, and all Viljoen could say was: “They’re coming, they’re coming.”
When another neighbour, Dr Johan Stipp arrived, she told Pistorius he was a medical doctor who could help. She walked outside to check on her father, while Stipp attended inside.
Viljoen went back in and some time later she asked: “Oscar, what happened?”
He told her he thought Steenkamp was an intruder, but the discussion ended there as they tried to keep the model alive.
When the paramedics arrived, Viljoen and Pistorius went into the kitchen.
Prior to this, another neighbour had looked around the door, Viljoen said she only knew him as “Mike” and told him to not look inside the house.
Paramedics came into the kitchen to check on Pistorius, and they had asked for Steenkamp’s ID. She asked Pistorius where Steenkamp’s handbag was and he went upstairs to fetch it.
She said she remained downstairs, but a minute or two later, she followed to call him after her father asked where the athlete had gone. She said she was too scared to go further than the top of the stairs and called for him.
He returned with the bag.
At one stage, Pistorius tried to call someone – later discovered to be Pistorius’s friend Justin Divaris – but Viljoen said he wasn’t making sense.
She took the phone from Pistorius, and Divaris asked if Steenkamp was alright. Pistorius asked Viljoen to call his manager, Peet van Zyl. He then called his brother, Carl. The police arrived after the calls were made. Later in the day, Pistorius’s sister Aimee and Viljoen went upstairs to fetch clothes for the athlete.
Aimee also kept Steenkamp’s bag to keep it safe so it could be given to the model’s mother, June.
In his cross-examination, Gerrie Nel asked about the phone call to Divaris.
She confirmed it was Pistorius who dialled and she simply took over. She also said she never saw Pistorius make any calls while she was with him, which was most of the time prior to the full police investigation of the scene.
Viljoen confirmed that Aimee had packed a watch for the athlete when they were gathering his clothes.
Nel asked Viljoen to look at a photograph of Pistorius’s home. Before turning to it, Viljoen asked: “My lady, is this going to be a photo that’s going to make me cry?”
But the photo was of the upstairs section of the home, where she pointed out where the towels used to bandage Steenkamp’s wounds were felt.
She also added that at all times, police officers ensured that neither she nor Aimee went into the bathroom where the shooting had taken place.
After the incident, she said she had visited the athlete at the Brooklyn police station to check on him.
Viljoen said that during the incident, she was unsure if Pistorius was following what was going on in his frantic state. But Nel said that he was still able to follow instructions and ask questions.
After Viljoen’s testimony, Roux said that he had not managed to bring a third witness to the court on Monday, and asked for a postponement until Tuesday.
Judge Thokozile Masipa allowed the postponement and the court was adjourned for the day.