Oscar Pistorius sick as murder trial hears autopsy details
By Richard Allen Greene. Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Ralph Ellis, CNN
updated 11:53 AM EDT, Mon March 10, 2014
Pretoria, South Africa (CNN) -- "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius broke down and vomited in court Monday as he heard a pathologist testify about his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp's injuries after he shot her dead on Valentine's Day last year.
The testimony of pathologist Gert Saayman was interrupted by Pistorius' sobbing and retching, leading to a pause in the proceedings.
Earlier, Judge Thokozile Masipa imposed a broadcast blackout on Saayman's testimony. Masipa, who has been presiding over the weeklong trial in Pretoria, extended the ban to live reporting on Twitter.
Pistorius admits he shot Steenkamp, 29, but says that it was a tragic case of mistaken identity and that he thought she was an intruder who had broken into his home.
In court, Saayman confirmed that Steenkamp died from multiple gunshot wounds, consistent with having been hit in the head, arm and hip by three shots fired through the locked door of a toilet cubicle.
Pistorius appeared deeply physically distressed throughout the testimony, repeatedly making retching sounds and clutching his head in his hands. The track star, 27, appeared at times to try to cover his ears by clasping his hands behind his neck, or he put his fingers in his ears. His brother and sister came to check on him during the brief break in Saayman's testimony.
Security guard on the stand
Saayman 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 of shots in the early hours of February 14, 2013, at Pistorius' home.
He said any of the three injuries to Steenkamp could have been fatal and all immediately incapacitating. He said it was probably the bullet to the skull that killed her almost immediately. It passed from the top of her head over her right eye to the base of her skull, suggesting that she was not standing when hit, he added.
Saayman said the wounds were consistent with "ranger" bullets, which open up "like the petals of a flower" to cause maximum tissue damage.
Earlier on Monday, defense lawyers challenged a security guard's statements about what happened on the night. Guard Pieter Baba said he talked by phone to Pistorius the night of the killing and Pistorius said "everything's fine" or "everything's OK."
But defense lawyer Barry Roux said Pistorius had said, "I'm fine."
Baba was adamant, saying, "What I just told the court is the truth."
Baba's testimony proceeded slowly because all questions and answers had to go through a translator. He gave two statements to police, months apart.
On Friday, Baba said he could hear Pistorius was crying and he knew everything was not fine.
Read more: First week of the trial -- three bangs, four shots, nine witnesses
Baba arrived at the house in time to witness Pistorius coming down the stairs carrying Steenkamp.
"I was so shocked, I couldn't think for a few moments," he testified.
Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to one charge of murder and a firearms charge associated with Steenkamp's killing as well as two gun indictments unrelated to her death.