Reeva Steenkamp was cowering when shot, court hears

2014-03-19 18:00

There was a pause between Oscar Pistorius’ first and second shots, ballistics expert Chris Mangena has testified in the North Gauteng High Court.

This testimony is significant because it links to the testimony of Michelle Burger, the first witness who gave evidence in the murder trial.

Burger said she heard a shot, followed by a pause and then three more shots. She also testified that she heard screaming in between the shots.

It was also revealed today that the shots that hit Steenkamp in her head and arm made contact while she was cowering in a “defensive position”, with her arms covering her head.

Mangena mimicked the position in which he believed Steenkamp was hit, with prosecutor Gerrie Nel describing it as follows: “Captain Mangena, you have both your hands on your head, your head forward, with left arm crossed over the right.”

Mangena testified that he believed the first bullet hit Steenkamp on her hip as she was standing facing the toilet door, following which she “fell down on a magazine rack”.

This rack was located right next to the toilet.

He said “most probably” the second bullet missed her, “fragmented and the fragments from the bullet came and hit her in the back, causing bruises”.

On Mangena’s version, there would have had to be a pause between the first shot and the three shots that followed it.

Mangena testified that he believed after Steenkamp was hit in the head, she slumped over and came to rest with her head against the toilet seat.

When Pistorius’ lawyer Barry Roux put it to Mangena that Pistorius would testify he fired two rapid shots in succession, so-called double taps, the ballistics expert disagreed.

He said that if the shots fired were two double taps, he would expect to find the wounds on Steenkamp grouped closer together.

Ian van der Nest, the blood spatter expert called by the police, later confirmed Mangena’s reconstruction, saying the blood from her head wound had run over the toilet seat and into the bowl.

Van der Nest said the blood found on the toilet floor was from an arm wound.

Later in the afternoon, Colonel Mike Sales also testified briefly about downloading the contents of two iPads found in Pistorius’ home.

The last activity on the iPad was a search for a rare Morgan Aeromax sports car at 9.19pm.

There was no testimony in court about porn websites, but records that were displayed in court showed that a Google search was done for porn website at 6.29pm.

Roux obtained a concession from Sales that he could not say who had accessed the website.

The case was today postponed unexpectedly at the request of prosecutor Nel.

Nel said the state was “contemplating closing its case” early next week and needed time to consult with a few more witnesses.

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