Oscar Pistorius has vomited in the dock at his murder trial as he heard graphic details of the injuries sustained by the girlfriend he fatally shot.
The testimony of Professor Gert Saayman, the pathologist who performed the autopsy on Reeva Steenkamp’s body, was not broadcast or reported live on Twitter by journalists because of its explicit content under an order from Judge Thokozile Masipa. But journalists were allowed to report the evidence without directly quoting the witness.
The double-amputee runner, hunched over on a bench, reacted to the description of Miss Steenkamp’s wounds by vomiting and retching repeatedly, prompting Judge Masipa to briefly halt the evidence to ask chief defence lawyer Barry Roux to attend to his client. The judge also asked whether Pistorius was able to understand the proceedings. Roux said Pistorius’s reaction was not going to change. A bucket was placed at his feet.
Prof Saayman stood for much of his time on the stand, referring to photographs that were not shown to the gallery as he described bullet wounds on Miss Steenkamp’s body, one to the right side of the head, one to the right arm and one to the right hip area. He also described exit wounds caused by the bullets and other abrasions and discolouration of the skin, consistent with the impact of a bullet fired through a wooden object such as a door.
There was another wound on one of Miss Steenkamp’s hands, Prof Saayman said.
Pistorius, the first amputee to run in the Olympics, is charged at the high court in Pretoria with premeditated murder for 29-year-old Miss Steenkamp’s shooting death before dawn on February 14, 2013. Pistorius, 27, says the killing was accidental because he thought his girlfriend was a dangerous intruder when he shot her through the door of a toilet cubicle in his home.
Earlier, prosecutor Gerrie Nel, supported by chief defence lawyer Mr Roux, said Prof Saayman’s testimony would have an “explicitly graphic nature”. Judge Masipa then announced a ban on live audio and video broadcasting, and extended the order to live reporting on social media.
The trial continues.