News

Pistorius weeps as court hears autopsy details

Pistorius weeps as court hears autopsy details

ON TRIAL: Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius reacts during a testimony at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria March 10. Photo: Reuters/Bongiwe Mchunu

By Vanessa Romeo

PRETORIA (Reuters) – “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius broke down on Monday when a South African court heard details from the autopsy of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom the track star is accused of murdering on Valentine’s Day last year.

The testimony of pathologist Gert Saayman was interrupted twice by Pistorius’ sobbing and retching but the defense team argued against an adjournment, saying a break would not improve the 27-year-old Paralympic and Olympic athlete’s state of mind.

Earlier, Judge Thokozile Masipa imposed a broadcast blackout on Saayman’s testimony out of respect for Steenkamp’s family and to prevent viewers such as children from accidentally hearing its contents.

“Broadcast would compromise the privacy of the deceased, hurt the interests of the Steenkamps and be against the morals of society,” Saayam said when he took the stand to argue for a temporary broadcast blackout of the trial, which had so far been shown in its entirety on live television.

Masipa, who has been presiding over the week-long trial, extended the ban to live reporting on Twitter.

Pistorius admits he shot 29-year-old Steenkamp but argues that it was a tragic case of mistaken identity and that he thought she was an intruder who had broken in to his luxury Pretoria home.

In his testimony, Saayman confirmed that Steenkamp died from multiple gunshot wounds, having been hit in the head, arm and hip by three shots fired through the locked door of a toilet cubicle. A fourth round fired by Pistorius missed.

As Saayman spoke, Pistorius sat with head bowed, covering his ears with his hands and a white handkerchief.

Sayaam is the first expert to testify at the trial, which has so far heard several witnesses who reported hearing a woman screaming before a volley shots in the early hours of February 14 at Pistorius’ home.

The killing stunned South Africa and the millions of Pistorius supporters around the world who admired the athlete as a symbol of triumph over physical adversity.

He had his disabled lower legs amputated as a baby but – running on carbon fiber prosthetic “blades” – made it to the semi-final of the 400 meters at the London 2012 Olympics competing against able-bodied sprinters.

If found guilty of murder, he faces at least 25 years behind bars.

(Additional reporting by Lynette Ndabambi; Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by David Dolan)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

‘Breaking Bad’ star: ‘Florida mom messed it up for everyone’

Fresh
aaronpaul

"Breaking Bad" star Aaron Paul has blasted bosses at Toys 'R' Us, and started his own petition to get the action figures back on store shelves.

in Music

Ozzy wants Bill Ward back for Black Sabbath swansong

Fresh
ozzy

The rocker is keen to end his stand-off with drummer Bill Ward so he can join his bandmates for a final show.

in National, World

U.S.: Ground offensive against ISIS months away in Iraq

Fresh
isis

Iraqi forces are months away from being able to start a sustained ground offensive against the Islamic State.

in National

Senator wants Internet companies to shun ‘fast lanes’

Fresh
leahey

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy pressed Internet providers to not strike deals that may help some websites load faster than others.

in Sports

Royals outfielders cram for ‘quirky’ AT&T test

Fresh
dyson

The irresistible talents of the Royals' outfielders may be tested by the inscrutable elements of San Francisco's quirky right field.