Reeva's shooting described in detail

2014-03-19 10:56
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Oscar Pistorius in court - day 13

See all the latest pictures from the North Gauteng High Court as Oscar Pistorius's trial for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp runs into day 13.

Pretoria - June Steenkamp stole glances at photographs of a bloodied crime scene as a police ballistics analyst revealed in the North Gauteng High Court on Wednesday his version of the last moments of her daughter Reeva Steenkamp.

"She was in a defensive position," Christian Mangena testified, as Oscar Pistorius, who had been dating Steenkamp for a few months before he shot her, sat bent with his head in his hands.

June Steenkamp quickly looked away after each glance at the screen next to her, as Mangena took the court through his grim findings.

Shot in hip

He had just testified that, according to bullet holes A and B on the door through which Pistorius shot Steenkamp, the first bullet broke her hip and caused her to fall, while the second shot ricocheted.

"She was standing in front of the door, facing the door," Mangena said.

The ricocheted bullet caused an injury to her back. "Bullet B missed her, hit the tiles, and the fragments from the bullet hit her on the back."

Mangena was able to establish this by lining up the wounds in Steenkamp's body with the bullet holes in the door. The distance between the heel and Steenkamp's hip wound was 93cm, and the height of the first bullet hole in the door 93.5cm.

The effect of the Black Talon expanding bullet caused her to fall onto a magazine rack in the toilet cubicle.

"By then she was in a seated position with her back towards the wall," said Mangena.

Defensive position

He demonstrated the defensive position by bending over and crossing his arms over his chest and head.

"Now how do we determine that?" said Mangena, standing during his testimony.

She had an entrance and exit wound on her arm, with body tissue from her right arm transferred to the black vest she was wearing.

Bullet fragments damaged her vest, indicating her right arm was lifted up and was in front of the chest.

She had a wound to her left hand from when a bullet penetrated her head, said Mangena.

He demonstrated to the court that according to his findings, she would have had both hands over her head, with the left and right hand crossing on top of the head.

That bullet broke into two fragments.

One was removed during the post mortem on her body, and the other left her body to become the one that hit the wall.

"After this wound was inflicted, My Lady she dropped immediately," said Mangena.

From the seated position, she would have dropped to the right hand side of the toilet cubicle with the rest of her body on the magazine rack.

Ammunition broke up inside body

The Black Talon ammunition used in the shooting broke up inside Steenkamp's body, the court heard.

"With this type of ammunition, My Lady, you get maximum wounding...It opens up if it hits the target," Mangena said to questions by prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Nel asked Mangena to explain what he meant by target, saying the bullets had not broken up when they penetrated the toilet door.

"A human being," Mangena said.

"It creates six 'talons'. These talons are sharp and cut through the organs. If it hits a bone it breaks into fragments."

Mangena said unlike full metal jacket ammunition, Black Talon ammunition did not pass through a human body as it broke up and lost all its energy.

He said the "most likely" position Pistorius was in when he fired the shots was on his stumps.

He explained the safety mechanism of the Glock 27 pistol used in the shooting. It had no thumb safety mechanism, but a "trigger safety".

"When you pull the trigger you have to pull it in the centre where the trigger safety is."

If the trigger was pulled lower down, or up, the safety would not be released and the firing pin would not move.

Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering Steenkamp saying he thought there was in an intruder in the house and when he realised he had shot her, he broke down the door with a cricket bat to free her.

She died on the scene.

Pistorius also faces charges under the Firearms Act for the alleged discharge of firearms at a restaurant and out of the sunroof of a car.

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

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