Pathologist outlines cold details of Reeva's injuries

2014-03-10 13:47
Oscar Pistorius in court. (Siphiwe Sibeko, AP)

Oscar Pistorius in court. (Siphiwe Sibeko, AP)

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Pretoria – Oscar Pistorius retched loudly in the dock as the cold details of tissue damage, bone fragments and lesions on his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp's body were explained to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

"Mr Roux can you just attend to your client - I am not sure what's happening there," said Judge Thokozile Masipa.

Pistorius had already been granted a short adjournment when he broke down as pathologist Professor Gert Saayman started going through the two and a half page pathology report on Steenkamp's body after Pistorius shot her on 14 February 2013.

"... Upper arm somewhat deformed due to associated fracture..." set off a bout of loud hunched retching.

"The wounds were caused by multiple small fragments. There was bruising in skin around the wounds, there was also bluish discolouration surrounding the wounds."

Steenkamp was wearing grey Nike shorts and a black vest when shot.

Pistorius pressed his hands on his ears.

Flipping through a file of photographs, Saayman described penetrating injuries and superficial abrasions in a brisk manner.

"The overall appearance shows the entry point to be around 92cm from the ground," said Saayman, specifying that he was talking about a wound in Steenkamp's right hip.

He said a defect he had seen on Steenkamp's pants were in line with this wound. Steenkamp had also sustained injuries to her left groin but these were superficial, small abrasions.

"This was possibly caused by wooden splinters," said Saayman.

"These did not penetrate the skin," he said.

Saayman also spoke of a wound that he noted on Steenkamp's hand between two of her fingers.

Other than these wounds, Steenkamp sustained a gunshot wound to the head.

Media ban

Earlier he had successfully asked that his evidence not be broadcast live for the dignity of Steenkamp's family, or in case vulnerable people or children may hear or see it.

He did not object to filtered or paraphrased reports such as those in the print media.

Masipa ordered that there be no live feed, Twitter, or blogging. The media's lawyer said editors would agree on a package to use later.

Small tissue fragments were distributed over the front of the vest. Over her torso were scattered remnants of tissue and fragments of bone.

He spoke of splinters.

Steenkamp was shot in the toilet cubicle in a bathroom at Pistorius's home in Pretoria. He said he later broke the door down with a cricket bat to free her.

Pistorius has been charged with the premeditated murder of Steenkamp and to charges of contravening the Firearms Act.

He contends that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he shot her, and has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Court proceedings were adjourned for lunch at 13:00.

Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  thokozile masipa  |  crime  |  pistorius trial

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