Reeva Steenkamp, shot by Oscar Pistorius (photo: India Times)

Reeva Steenkamp, shot dead by Oscar Pistorius (photo: India Times)

The International Business Times reports that three detectives investigating the killing of Oscar Pistorius’s girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp have flown to Apple’s HQ in Cupertino to seek assistance in accessing the athlete’s iPhone.

Prosecutors want to access its SMS and WhatsApp messages as evidence for the trial.

South African police have been struggling to gain access to the phone for months, one of several handsets found in the double-amputee athlete’s Pretoria villa on the night he shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius has claimed that he cannot remember the passcode … 

Evidence from a second mobile phone found in the villa reportedly revealed that Pistorius had been accessing pornography on the night of the killing.

[The phone] suggests that he looked at the material while Steenkamp was present in the building, on Valentine’s Day 2013.

The document goes on to state that this evidence paints a picture in “direct contrast to that of a loving couple spending their time together.”

South African police had reportedly asked the FBI to authorise Apple to unlock the phone, but that this has not yet happened, and the matter is now urgent as the murder trial begins on Monday.

Pistorius has admitted shooting Steenkamp through a bathroom door, but says that he did so believing her to be an intruder. Prosecutors will argue that he deliberately shot her following an argument.

The fact that even police were unable to bypass the passcode lock is testament to the security of iPhones, though law enforcement officials would of course have an easier time with an iPhone 5s, simply needing to obtain a court order to use a fingerprint to unlock the phone.