Oscar Pistorius yesterday vomited, sobbed and rocked almost constantly while a pathologist described the deadly injuries he had inflicted on Reeva Steenkamp.
For more than a quarter of an hour after proceedings adjourned yesterday the Paralympian athlete sat hunched over and sobbing in a bundle, while his brother Carl and sister Aimée tried to console him and protect him from the prying eyes of the ever-constant media.
Pistorius vomited and later dry heaved into a blue plastic bucket at his feet while, like a small child, first trying to block out the evidence with his hands clamped over his ears and later putting his thumbs in his ears.
Judge Thokozile Masipa at one stage asked if the trial could proceed and Pistorius was able to follow proceedings – to which his advocate Barry Roux said things “would not get better” and his client wanted to proceed.
Pistorius’s sister closed her eyes and wiped away tears while restlessly changing positions on the hard bench behind her brother – helpless to console him while the pathologist was testifying.
His brother was the first one to reach him after the trial adjourned, followed by his sister, who sat next to him while they appeared to be praying with another family member.
Reeva’s friend Desiree Myers also appeared to be upset by the evidence and sat with her head down while pathologist Gert Saayman was giving evidence.
Saayman testified that all three shots which hit Steenkamp in the head, right hip and right upper arm could independently have caused her death.
The gunshot wound to her head would have immediately incapacitated her and she would, at most, have been able to take a few breaths after sustaining the fatal wound, which shattered the right side of her head and the base of her skull.
The track of the wound started on the right front portion of the skull, traversed the cavity of the skull in a downward and backward position and came to rest at the base of the skull.
Saayman said it appeared as if the projectile had come almost from above the head if the victim was standing – but the head was very mobile, which could have affected on the direction of the bullet.
He testified a projectile had fractured Steenkamp’s right arm just above the elbow and left a gaping wound which could have caused her to bleed to death.
She had also suffered a deadly penetrating wound to the lower front part of her hip, almost in the groin area, which caused profuse bleeding and was fatal in most cases.
The wound would have caused most people to collapse almost immediately.
She also had a bullet wound in the web between the second and third finger of her left hand.
He testified Steenkamp had numerous superficial injuries to several parts of her body, including her chest, which could have been caused by wooden splinters.
Abrasions to the middle of her lower back were typical of the kind of injuries inflicted by a blunt object such as the edge of a chair.