Court hears details of Reeva's 'devastating' injuries

By admin
10 March 2014

Model Reeva Steenkamp drew a few breaths after she was shot in the head by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.

Pathologist Gert Saayman told the court that Steenkamp did not take more than a few breaths after suffering her head wound.

He was testifying in the murder trial of Pistorius who shot dead Steenkamp in his Pretoria home in Pretoria on February 14 last year. Pistorius submitted that he thought she was an intruder.

Saayman described the wound to her head as an incapacitating wound, and said there was physical damage to the brain because of a substantial fracture to the base of the skull.

However, both the injuries to her arm and her right groin or hip area could have been fatal as well, he said.

Her right hip bone was shattered and this was likely to cause immediate instability, he explained.

As Saayman spoke of the "painful wound", Pistorius bowed his head and retched.

He said Steenkamp would have collapsed and, unless she had something to grip onto, it would have been difficult to get back up.

It was also an incapacitating injury that if not operated on immediately could be fatal. He said there was a 50/50 chance of surviving the injury.

He described the wound to Steenkamp's arm as devastating. Her right arm was shattered, leaving it with no functionality.

Saayman said any of the head, arm or groin injuries could have caused her death because she needed urgent medical assistance to survive them. Saayman said an independent pathologist appointed by the Pistorius family was present during his autopsy. The model and law graduate sustained bruising to her back, buttocks and breast. Saayman said Steenkamp had two scratches on her back. This could have been caused by a blunt object or shrapnel. Her right buttock was bluish in colour. Saayman said this could have stemmed from the injury that Steenkamp had sustained on her right hip, where a bullet had penetrated.

There was some reddish discoloration on her right nipple, said Saayman.

He said this could have been caused by frictional contact. Earlier, Saayman told the court that Steenkamp had also sustained wounds to her head, hips and hand. Dressed in black, Pistorius's sister, Aimee, who sat in the court gallery tried to keep her composure. She fought back tears as she listened to her brother retch. He shot her through a locked bathroom door at his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day last year. He says he mistook her for an intruder.

The State alleges that it was premeditated murder.

Attending the proceedings was Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga.

She sat in the front of the court gallery amid women clad in ANC Women's League uniform.

They were sitting among Steenkamp's friends.


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