Sunday 26 May 2019

Pistorius vomits again in court after picture of Steenkamp's body shown

Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock as he listens to cross questioning about the events surrounding the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock as he listens to cross questioning about the events surrounding the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
Forensic investigator Johannes Vermeulen speaks during a cross examination by Barry Roux, the lawyer defending Oscar Pistorius, at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa, Thursday, March 13, 2014. Pistorius is charged with murder for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
Oscar Pistorius sits with his head in his hands during his murder trial in Pretoria (AP)

Oscar Pistorius vomited after a picture of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp's blood-covered body was accidentally shown to the court at his murder trial in Pretoria.

As screens in court rapidly scrolled from a picture of Pistorius's bathroom to another of the athlete's blood-stained prosthetic legs when the body was shown for just a fraction of a second, prompting loud winces in court.

Desi Myers, the mother of Reeva Steenkamp's friend and room-mate Gina Myers had already left the court in tears as grim pictures of Pistorius's bathroom covered in blood were shown.

Pistorius's defence counsel Barry Roux was again cross-examining forensic analyst Lt Col Johannes Vermuelen.

Yesterday, Lt Col Vermuelen claimed that the athlete was standing on his stumps when he struck the door with a cricket bat in a bid to reach Ms Steenkamp. This contradicts Pistorius's version of events, who claimed he was wearing his prosthetics legs at his bail application.

Mr Roux argued that there are marks on the door which show that Pistorius tried to kick it with his prosthesis but Lt Col Vermeulen didn't "bother" to investigate them properly.

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"Did you see them?" Mr Roux asked him.

"I ignored those that I could not immediately link with the cricket bat, because I knew there were other investigations going on in other parts of the door," he said.

Mr Roux questioned the methods used by police and suggested the crime scene had been contaminated during the investigation. He said that Pistorius's watch collection had disappeared and pieces of the door had gone missing.

The lawyer also noted that Lt Col Vermeulen had not read Pistorius' version of events on the night Ms Steenkamp was shot until after he had completed his forensic study of the door, and was therefore relying on the prosecution's version of what happened.

Today, Lt Col Vermeulen conceded that there is not set timeline for the gunshots, kicking and the bat strikes bat except for Pistorius's own version of events.

The door has been viewed as crucial evidence in the case, and was removed from the athlete's home in the hours after he shoot Ms Steenkamp. The marks on the door could determine the angle and height from which Pistorius fired.

Last week, Pistorius pleaded not guilty of murdering Ms Steenkamp, claiming he shot her in a case of mistaken identity thinking she was an intruder.

Prosecutors argue he intentionally shot and killed his girlfriend following a domestic dispute. If convicted of murder he will almost certainly receive a life sentence, with a minimum term of 25 years.

The case continues.

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