Oscar Pistorius trial week 2: Paralympian sick as damage on Reeva Steenkamp's body revealed

 

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The Independent Online

Many of the world’s longest standing crime reporters sit in the public gallery at the North Gauteng High Court.

None can ever recall a bucket being rushed to the dock for the accused to throw up in.

In the second week of Oscar Pistorius’s trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, it happened twice.

The Olympian cried for long periods, hugged by his sister Aimee, in grim anticipation of the evidence given by Professor Gert Saayman, the pathologist who performed the autopsy on Ms Steenkamp, which he knew would be graphic in its detail, and recall with stomach-churning clarity the horrific events that occurred in Pistorius’s house on Valentine’s Day last year.

Professor Saayman revealed three startling facts, as uncomfortable as they were unpleasant for the athlete.

That he shot her with devastating hollow tipped ‘Black Talon’ bullets, designed “mushroom on impact” with human flesh, and which are illegal in warfare (but used by the US Police Force).

That she very likely ate a meal of some sort at 1am, hours after the athlete claimed they had gone to bed. And that she would have screamed after sustaining gunshot wounds to the hip and arm, before the headwound that killed her.



Pistorius’s friend Darren Fresco, also said he had told him he was “fucking mad” after firing a bullet through the open sunroof of his car, while Fresco was driving in 2011. Pistorius denies this charge as well.

There was much excitement when, on Wednesday morning, the toilet door from the athlete’s home had been erected in court, in front of a mock up of the toilet cubicle.

Lt Col Johannes Vermuelen swung at the door with Pistorius’s bloodied cricket bat, to demonstrate his finding that Pistorius was not wearing his prosthetics when he struck through it with the cricket bat. The athlete has claimed he was, and he intends to deploy his own experts to counter the claim.

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Much of the week was devoted to looking through long albums of photographs taken by the first police officers to arrive at the alleged crime scene, with Pistorius’s defence counsel Barry Roux making painstaking attempts to drive home his core strategy - that evidence there was “disturbed, contaminated and tampered with”.

As the court computer operator rapidly scrolled up and down the decks, twice horrific photographs of Ms Steenkamp’s blood soaked dead body, and close ups of her face after death, flashed up on a large screen just a foot or so from Pistorius’s face.

On this occasion, the reaction was instant, and the sick bucket did not arrive in time.

Among other photographs were haunting images of a shirtless Pistorius, stood in his garage, with blood strewn across his chest and arms and back and down his prosthetic legs.