It flashed up for less than a tenth of a second, but the damage was done and the reaction instant.
As the state prosecutor asked for picture 162 to be shown to be displayed on the evidence screens, the computer had to zip through more than a hundred photographs of the scene at Oscar Pistorius’s house on Valentine’s Day to get there. One of the screens is just two feet or so in front of the face of the athlete in the witness box, and as a picture flashed of Reeva Steenkamp’s face in close up after death, the accused was instantly and loudly sick on the floor. A green bucket was hurriedly fetched, but it was too late.
Later, Mr Pistorius’s screen was turned off.
On day nine of the Olympian’s trial for the murder of his girlfriend, the model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp, Colonel Giliam Schoombie van Rensburg, the first police officer to arrive at the apartment, guided the court through a long series of previously unpublished photographs, showing in great detail the scene at the athlete’s house.
“On our arrival, there was an ambulance that had its rear doors open – on the right hand side of the road, stationary,” he said.
“I approached the house, there were security officers also there. After I'd gone through, on the left hand side of the stairs there was a body.
"The body was covered with towels and black bags and there was blood which could be seen there."
He said a female paramedic approached and told him the woman had been declared dead on their arrival.
"The paramedic showed me there was a head wound, a wound on the right hand side of the waist, a wound on the right arm above the elbow,” Col Schoombie van Rensburg said.
"In the kitchen, there stood the accused, a white male who was made known to me as Oscar Pistorius.
"He was very emotional at that stage and then I asked him what happened. He didn't answer. He was in tears.”
The photographs showed spots of blood on the floor and the walls of Pistorius’s stairs and hallway. In the bedroom an empty gun holster lay to the left hand side of the bed, the implication being that this was where Pistorius removed the gun. It is remarkably near the claims he believed Ms Steenkamp to still be sleeping.
Other pictures showed deep pools of blood on the bathroom floor, and large parts of the demolished door.
The police colonel found the gun lying on top of a grey towel. “ The hammer was back,” he said. “It was cocked and ready to go.”
Earlier the court heard more from Lt Col Johannes Vermuelen, the forensic analyst who carried out the analysis of the cricket bat marks on the toilet door. Pistorius claims he struck it with his cricket bat after putting on his prosthetic legs, but Lt Col Vermuelen insists the marks are too low down.
He has been criticised by the defence for “not bothering” to analyse other marks on the door, which Pistorius claims were made through his failed attempts to kick it open with his prostheses.
State prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked him it was possible Pistorius could have kicked the door before shooting through it, and before hitting it with a cricket bat, perhaps to "to scare someone?” To which Lt Col Vermuelen replied “it’s possible.”
“There is no timeline for that mark,” he said.
Prosecutors argue he intentionally shot and killed his girlfriend following a domestic dispute. If convicted of murder he will almost certainly receive a life sentence, with a minimum term of 25 years.
The case continues.Reuse content