Claims police compromised evidence in Pistorius case

Oscar Pistorius enters court during the fourth day of Oscar Pistorius bail application at Pretoria Magistrates Court, in South Africa. Photo: Chris Ricco/Sports Inc/Press Association Images

Police officers investigating the killing of Reeva Steenkamp have compromised important evidence by removing it from the crime scene, South African television has claimed.

The bathroom door through which Oscar Pistorius fired at his girlfriend was taken away from the sprinter’s home four days after the shooting - before his forensics experts had the chance to examine it at the scene, the reports say.

This ITV News report from February 20 explains the significance of the door:

Specialists working for the sprinter were eventually allowed to “look at but not touch” the door at a police station, but the experts should have had the opportunity to study it at the athlete’s home, according to broadcaster ENCA.

Carl Pistorius, Oscar's brother talks to Henke Pistorius (father) at Pretoria Magistrates Court, Pretoria, South Africa. Credit: Chris Ricco/Sports Inc/Press Association Images

The bathroom door may prove to be one of the most important pieces of evidence in the case.

The angle at which the bullets struck it could indicate whether Pistorius was wearing his prosthetic legs, as prosecutors believe.

The Olympic athlete claims that he was on his stumps when he fired at what he thought was an intruder.

Oscar Pistorius in the Men's 400m Heats during day eight of the London Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium, London. Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Apparent blunders by South African police officers have been a feature of the investigation.

Lead officer Hilton Botha was criticised for potentially contaminating the crime scene, not checking mobile phones records and misidentifying a substance found at Pistorius’ home as testosterone.

Botha was then taken off the case after it emerged that he was facing seven attempted murder charges for allegedly firing at a minibus.

Read: Pistorius' father racism claim.