Oscar Pistorius Trial: Defence expert re-enacts Reeva Steenkamp's final moments in court

Ballistics expert claims Reeva Steenkamp was 'falling' when the last of four bullets struck in her the head and killed her

Reeva Steenkamp's final moments were re-enacted in court as Oscar Pistorius's defence sought to cast doubt over the state's case that the model died while trying to protect herself from the bullets.

Tom 'Wollie' Wolmarans, a ballistics expert for the defence, told the court Ms Steenkamp was standing close behind the toilet door when she was hit in the hip before the last of four bullet struck her in the head as she was falling.

"She was not sitting yet when the last shot was fired," he told Pretoria's High Court, adding that, based on his findings, she did not place her arms over her head as if she was trying to protect herself.

Returning to the witness stand, Mr Wolmarans, a former police officer, also argued that Pistorius "fired rapidly" and all four bullets hit the 29-year old model and law graduate: first in the hip, then in arm, hand and head, contradicting the state's case that one bullet missed her and ricocheted off the wall.

The sequence and the trajectory of the bullets is crucial as the athlete's defence is seeking to undermine the prosecution's claim that was cowering with her hands over her head after locking herself inside an en-suite toilet hiding from Pistorius following an argument.

 

At the start of the trial, the state's ballistic expert, Captain Chris Mangena, told the court Ms Steenkamp was standing facing the door when the first shot hit her in the hip, the second shot missed her and ricocheted, bruising her back.

Ms Steenkamp was then hit in the arm and head as she tried to protect herself from the bullets in a defensive position. At the time Capt Mangena noted there could have been a short break between the first and the second shot, supporting the state's claim that Pistorius deliberately changed target to hit her.

The athlete, once a national hero in South Africa, is accused of murdering his girlfriend following a domestic dispute in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year. He claims he shot and killed his girlfriend in a case of mistaken identity, thinking she was an intruder.

South Africa does not have trial by jury, meaning Judge Thokozile Masipa will decide Pistorius' fate with the help of two assessors.

The murder trial continues.

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