Pathologist: Reeva could have screamed after being shot

2014-03-12 00:00

REEVA Steenkamp could have screamed and would most probably have done so after being shot.

Pathologist Professor Gert Saayman’s testimony is important because Oscar Pistorius’s advocate Barry Roux has sought to imply in cross-examining neighbours that the screams they said they heard were from the athlete himself, and that Steenkamp would have been too gravely wounded to cry out.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked Saayman yesterday whether Steenkamp could have screamed after being shot. “For someone with those kinds of wounds not to scream would have been abnormal,” Saayman answered.

Pistorius’s version before court does not mention Steenkamp screaming.

Last week, Roux put it to radiologist Dr Johan Stipp, the neighbour who came to help and examined the dying woman, that she would not have been able to scream after the gunshot to the head that killed her. He agreed that she would not have had “cognitive functions”.

But Saayman said that Steenkamp would have lost “cognitive functions” but that this means higher reasoning, not the ability to scream.

She could have taken her last breaths after the head shot, he also testified.

Neighbours Michelle Burger and her husband Charl Johnson both said the woman’s screams they heard “died away” after the last shot.

Saayman also said he estimated that Steenkamp’s last meal was about two hours before her death.

Since she died after 3 am, this means she would have eaten at around 1 am, which conflicts with Pistorius’s version that they went to bed at about 10 pm.

Despite determined cross-examination by Roux to budge him from this time estimate, Saayman remained resolute, saying he relied on his extensive experience over 30 years.

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