Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend first in the hip before hitting her fatally in the head through a locked toilet door, a police ballistics expert has testified at the Paralympian’s murder trial in South Africa.
The ballistics report on Wednesday appears to support earlier testimony that Reeva Steenkamp had time to cry for help before she died and contradicts the defence team’s version that she could not have screamed.
The South African Paralympian sprinter says Steenkamp’s death was a terrible accident and that he shot her through the locked door after he mistook her for an intruder when she went to the toilet.
The ballistics report will be key in the South African state’s case of premeditated murder against Pistorius.
“The best probable explanation is the deceased was initially upright behind the closed door; she sustained a penetrating wound in the right side of the hip,” ballistics expert, Captain Chris Mangena, told the court.
The 29-year-old model and law graduate then fell onto a magazine rack where bullets hit her elbow, hand and head in uncertain order.
A bullet clipped her raised left hand before entering her brain, Mangena said.
“The deceased was seated in a defensive position,” he said.
“The arm was lifted up and was in front of her chest.”
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel then asked if both of Steenkamp’s hands were forward, with the left and right hand crossing the head, mimicking the position with his own arms.
“That is correct,” his witness answered.
Pistorius, 27, sat with his head in his hands, while Steenkamp’s mother and relatives in the public gallery lowered their heads when graphic images of the blood-splattered bathroom were shown.
The court adjourned until Monday, after prosecutor Nel asked for time to re-examine his final “four or five” witnesses before closing his case early next week.