As the murder trial of South African runner, Oscar Pistorius, moved into its second week, the first ever amputee Olympian was forced to endure graphic testimony that reportedly left him vomiting.
Day 6 of the South African “Trial of the Century” introduced pathologist Gert Saayman, who explained the wounds suffered by Reeva Steenkamp, Pistorious’s former girlfriend, when she was shot by Pistorious through a locked bathroom door in the wee hours of Valentine’s morning, 2013.
Pistorious, a native of Sandton, South Africa, claims he thought he was shooting at an intruder, not Steenkamp.
Dr. Saayman’s testimony was deemed disturbing and graphic enough that Judge Thokozile Masipa disallowed any of it to be reported via Twitter, journalists only able to report on his statements without directly quoting him.
Saayman detailed gunshot wounds to Steenkamp’s head, upper arm and hip. The bullets used, he explained, are designed to blossom out and create as much carnage and severe injury as possible. He was able to identify the type of bullets by fragments they left behind in the victim’s skull. Each of the wounds could have been fatal on their own, according to Saayman, but the shot to the right side of the victim’s head likely was the most immediate cause of death.
Steenkamp also suffered a broken arm and wound to the hand during the horrific incident that continues to rock South Africa.
The testimony seemed to deeply affect Pistorius who began gagging, retching and throwing up as the pathologist explained the lethal injuries. The outburst was sufficiently loud and disturbing enough that Judge Masipa briefly brought the testimony to a halt.
The former South African Olympian, also dubbed the “Blade Runner” because of the prosthetic legs he used to compete, was initially seen leaning forward and rocking in his seat while holding his head, plugging his ears and making loud retching noises. He then vomited forcing the court to a standstill.
The defendant’s lawyer, brother, and sister all tended to him briefly before a bucket was placed on the floor beneath him and the trial resumed.
Aside from the fallen track star’s being made physically ill by the testimony, important facts and evidence also came to light during Dr. Saayman’s time on the stand.
According to Saayman, judging by what was in Steenkamp’s stomach at the time of the autopsy, he estimated that she had eaten no more than two hours before her death. Meanwhile, Pistorious claims that both he and Steenkamp had eaten and gone to bed by 10pm. With the shooting having occurred at 3am, many are again raising their eye brows at the former South African Hero’s version of events, which many say seem implausible.
If convicted of premeditated murder, the penalty in South Africa would require Pistorious to receive a life sentence. He also faces gun charges that could result in many years of additional time.
The trial is expected to last approximately 3 weeks. Since South Africa does not have jury trials, the decision of Pistorious’ guilt or innocence is up to the Judge.
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