Oscar Pistorius, on trial in Pretoria, South Africa, for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year, vomited in court during descriptions of the wounds Steenkamp suffered when Pistorius shot her through a closed door.
Pistorius is accused of murdering Steenkamp. He contends her death was the result of an accident, that he believed she was an intruder and shot through a closed bathroom door in self-defense.
The court prohibited journalists on the scene from writing or broadcasting in any detail, as University of Pretoria pathologist Gert Saayman described in detail the mortal wounds Steenkamp suffered. Steenkamp was shot in the top right of her head, the right elbow, the right hip, and in the webbing of her left hand.
Saayman had requested that the testimony be blocked from public view. “I think that it goes against the good morals of society for us to make information of this nature available in a manner that vulnerable or unsuspecting people in society may be exposed,” he said.
The judge briefly halted the proceedings when Pistorius was overcome by the testimony. He sobbed and retched, but the defense did not seek an adjournment.
One question still at issue is when the fatal bullet was fired. The prosecution is arguing that the fatal shot was the final one, and that Steenkamp screamed loud enough for witnesses to hear. The defense is expected to argue that the fatal shot was the first one.
In earlier testimony, a former girlfriend of Pistorius said that he once shot his gun out of a car sunroof and later cheated on her with the woman he killed last year. And a security guard recalled the athlete telling him everything was ”fine” after neighbors reported gunshots coming from Pistorius’ house on the night of her death.
The security guard, Pieter Baba, testified that he telephoned Pistorius after the reported gunshots in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14, 2013, and that the athlete assured him in their brief conversation: ”Security, everything is fine.”
Moments later, Baba said, Pistorius phoned him back, started crying and didn’t say anything, and then the line went dead. It was minutes after he shot Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model.
”Not everything was in order as Mr. Pistorius was telling me,” Baba recalled saying to a fellow guard as they were outside the runner’s villa.
Earlier, ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor, who cried twice during her time on the stand in the Pretoria court, said Pistorius always carried a firearm when they dated and sometimes shouted angrily at her and her friends. There were murmurs in court when Taylor said their relationship ended because Pistorius cheated on her with Steenkamp.
Taylor said she started going out with Pistorius in 2011 when she was 17, and that the relationship ended in November 2012.
She described some of Pistorius’ habits, including what side of the bed he slept on at home, the fact that he placed his gun on the bedside table or next to his prostheses on the floor at night and how he would balance against things if he was walking on his stumps.
Pistorius was born without fibula bones because of a congenital defect, and his legs were amputated when he was 11 months old. He ran on carbon-fiber blades and is a multiple Paralympic medalist. He also competed at the London Olympics, but didn’t win a medal.
Taylor described one occasion in which Pistorius fired his gun out of a sunroof soon after a policeman stopped their car for speeding. She also mentioned another incident in which she and Pistorius were followed by a car as he drove home.
”When we arrived at his estate, he jumped out of the car with his gun and held it to someone’s window, and then they drove away,” Taylor said.