Warning: Graphic Content - Crime scene photos reveal blood soaked scene of Reeva Steenkamp's death
WARNING: This story contains graphic images which some readers may wish to avoid.
Photographs of Oscar Pistorius's blood-soaked bathroom have emerged showing the scene police encountered the night Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead on Valentine's Day last year.
The images show a pool of blood inside the toilet cubicle where the 29-year old model was shot, and Pistorius's 9mm gun lying on a bathroom mat with blood marks on it next to the cricket bat he used to smash down the door.
Ms Steenkmap was shot three times by 'Black Talon' bullets, designed to "mushroom on impact" with human flesh, causing extensive damage on her body.
The athlete claims he used the cricket bat to smash down the door after he realised Ms Steenkmap was inside.
Police ballistic expert Captain Christiaan Mangena told Pretoria's High Court the model and law graduate was standing in the toilet cubicle when she was hit in the right hip by the first of four bullets.
She then fell back and was struck in the right arm and the head as she tried to cross arms to protect herself from the bullets. She was facing the door when boyfriend Pistorius opened fire.
The bullet that struck her head broke into two fragments. The second shot missed Ms Steenkamp, hitting the cubicle instead and causing it to break into pieces, bruising her back.
Ms Steenkamp then fell on top of a magazine rack in the bathroom, in a seated position, from where one subsequent bullet missed her, before a fourth hit her in the head, and killed her, according to state ballistic expert.
The double-amputee Olympian is expected to be called to the witness stand to give evidence as early as next Monday when his murder trial resumes in Pretoria.
Last week, Judge Thokozile Masipa postponed proceedings for more than a week due to the illness of one of the legal assistants who has been sitting at her side throughout the trial in Pretoria.
The defence for the athlete will now open on 7 April. The trial has already heard 15 days of prosecution-led testimony from neighbours, forensics, specialist ballistic and evidence taken from mobile phones.
Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to murdering Ms Steenkamp, claiming he shot the model by mistake thinking she was an intruder in his home. Prosecutors argue he intentionally shot and killed the 29-year old model following a domestic dispute.
In a rare comment, the Paralympian told reporters he is going through a "difficult time" and there is "a lot of stuff ahead of us" as his defence team prepares to launch their case next week.
Independent News Service