Pistorius breaks down as pathologist testifies

2014-03-10 13:18
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Oscar Pistorius in court - day 6

See the latest pictures from the North Gauteng High Court where Oscar Pistorius is on trial for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp.

Pretoria - Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius cried in the dock on Monday as pathologist Gert Saayman described the head wounds of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius sat in the dock with his head bowed and his hands laced behind his neck.

He was shaking as Saayman described how a bullet entered Steenkamp's head in the right upper part, and ran under the skull before it exited from a second wound in the head.

Steenkamp family friend Desiree Myers also sat with her head down as Saayman spoke. Two women next to her held her hand and comforted her.

Pistorius sat gagging as Saayman said a bulk of the projectile went into the brain. Proceedings were briefly halted to allow him to regain his composure.

Judge Thokozile Masipa asked his lawyer Barry Roux if he would be able to proceed after the trial had to pause at the request of Roux.

"He is very emotional. It is not going to change. May I approach him?" asked Roux.

He spoke to Pistorius and returned to face Masipa and said: "He says he is willing that the evidence must proceed."

Blood stains

Saayman said Steenkamp's body was naked when it was brought in for a post mortem. Her clothes were brought along with the body.

Steenkamp's sport shorts had blood stains on them, and a small hole around 5mm in diameter.

What initially seemed like a defect on the trousers turned out to be a blood spatter, said Saayman.

A sleeveless black vest accompanied the pants.

Saayman said small tissue and bone fragments could be seen on the T-shirt.

Pistorius's sister, Aimee, also silently cried as she watched her brother break down.

Pistorius is on trial for the murder of Steenkamp.

He shot her dead through a locked bathroom door of his Pretoria home. He said he had mistaken her for an intruder.

The State, however, argues that it was premeditated murder.


Earlier, relatives of Pistorius headed to the dock where they prayed for him as he showed distress during proceedings.

During an adjournment his family huddled around him, holding his hand, and hugging him.

Pistorius broke down and buried his head in his hands as the court was told that the evidence of Saayman, would be too graphic to publicise.

The State requested that an order be granted for the audio of the proceedings to not be broadcast on radio or television.

Pistorius's ex-girlfriend, Samantha Taylor, and her mother, Patricia Ann Taylor, stared at him as he cried in the dock.

Taylor testified in the trial last week. She alleged that Pistorius had fired a gun in her presence before.

Women dressed in ANC Women's League regalia were also in court on Monday.

Some of them sat in the bench reserved for the Steenkamp family.

Spokesperson for the League, Jacqui Mofokeng, handed out stickers bearing an image of Steenkamp.

Last week, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane called for support for the grieving Steenkamp family.

Also in the front of the court were friends of Steenkamp. They too wore the stickers on their clothes.

The President of Crime Stoppers International, Alex McDonald, and his second vice-president, Yusuf Abramjee, also attended the proceedings.

While the court had earlier appeared less filled, it was almost packed to capacity by the adjournment.

Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  pistorius trial

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