Oscar Pistorius retched, rocked back and forth and vomited repeatedly into a bucket as a Pretoria courtroom heard in graphic detail the findings of a pathologists report resulting from an autopsy conducted on Reeva Steenkamp’s body after she was shot three times with exploding hollow tip bullets designed to cause maximum tissue damage upon impact.
On the sixth day of a trial that began with a less than sound ‘Flanders Purple Drapes’ defence, proceedings were repeatedly interrupted by a physically ill and audibly distraught Pistorius, 27, who stands charged of the intentional murder of Steenkamp, 29, on Valentine’s Day last year and who keeled over, “bent double in the dock, hands on his ears as if trying to block out the words, his body in visceral pain and [was] violently sick,” according to the Guardian.
The testimony delivered by Professor Gert Saayman was deemed by presiding judge Thokozile Masipa to be too graphic for broadcast over public television in South Africa, online in streaming services and on Twitter, with Saayman imploring the judge to issue a blackout so as not to “compromise the privacy of the deceased, hurt the interests of the Steenkamps and be against the morals of society.”
Saaymen then told the court his findings from the post-mortem, describing how the contents of Steenkamp’s stomach suggests she ate hours later than Pistorius’s account suggests; how she suffered fatal bullet wounds in her head, hip and elbow and that any could’ve caused death within minutes due to the severity of the bleeding; how she received injuries from the bullet fragments “like the petals of flower… designed by the manufacturer to have very sharp jagged edges”, wood splinters from the door through which Pistorius fired and pieces of her own bone.
At one point the trial was adjourned as the defence, Barry Roux SC, announced Pistorius has been physically sick – his siblings joining him in the dock to console him as he curled into a ball.
When Judge Masipa asked if Roux was able to do anything for his client, he replied, fittingly enough: “My lady, he’s not fine but he’s not going to be fine. He’s having some difficulty. He’s very emotional but it’s not going to change.”
Photos: AFP via Getty