World
Pistorius forced to look at "exploded" head of girlfriendPublish Date: Apr 10, 2014
Pistorius forced to look at "exploded" head of girlfriend
  • mail
  • img
Oscar Pistorius
newvision

PRETORIA - A South African prosecutor forced Oscar Pistorius on Wednesday to look at a forensic photograph that showed the head of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after it was blown open by a hollow-point bullet fired by the Olympic and Paralympic track star.

In a dramatic opening to his cross-examination of Pistorius, prosecutor Gerrie Nel made him admit he had killed Steenkamp then later confronted him with the photograph showing the side and back of her skull, her hair matted with blood and brains.

"Have a look there. I know you don't want to because you don't want to take responsibility," Nel said to gasps from the packed public gallery.

"Take responsibility for what you have done," Nel persisted, his voice rising almost to a shout.

Pistorius responded by burying his head in his hands in the witness stand, rocking from side to side and weeping.

The double amputee sprinter, once revered across the world for his triumph over adversity, faces life in prison if convicted in the Pretoria High Court of the murder of Steenkamp, a 29-year-old law graduate and model.

His defence hinges on his contention that he thought he was firing at an intruder when he shot Steenkamp through a toilet door in his luxury Pretoria home on Feb. 14 - Valentine's Day - last year.

"ZOMBIE STOPPER"

During the 18-day trial, Nel, renowned as one of South Africa's toughest state attorneys with the nickname 'The Pitbull', has sought to show the 27-year-old as a gun-obsessed hot-head.

Early in his questioning, he asked Pistorius if he knew what a "zombie stopper" was, to which the defendant answered no.

After a brief adjournment, the court then viewed video footage broadcast before the trial by Britain's Sky News of Pistorius firing a .50 calibre handgun at a watermelon at a shooting range.

As the melon disintegrates, Pistorius says off-camera: "It's a lot softer than brains. But (bleep) it's like a zombie stopper."

Nel then pushed the track star, saying he had shot the melon because he wanted to see what a bullet hitting a person's head looked like.

"You know that the same happened to Reeva's head. It exploded. I'm going to show you," he said, before projecting the forensic photograph of Steenkamp's head on the court monitors.

Steenkamp was hit by three of four 9 mm rounds fired by Pistorius through the toilet door. One hit her behind the right ear, killing her almost instantly, pathologists had earler told the court.

Pistorius acknowledged responsibility but refused to lift his head.

"I don't have to look at a picture. I was there," he said.

Television stations carrying the feed from the court apologised to viewers as the graphic image was broadcast live.

BALCONY CRUCIAL

With no direct witnesses, Nel's main task is to pick holes in Pistorius' testimony and cast doubt on his statements about a perceived burglar, a common fear in crime-obsessed South Africa.

Crucially, he forced Pistorius to concede that he did not go out on to the balcony in the middle of the hot and humid night to bring two fans inside - the instant during which, he said in a sworn affidavit submitted at his bail hearing, that he believed Steenkamp went to the toilet without him realising.

"You can't get away, Mr. Pistorius," Nel said.

Pistorius was forced to concede: "My memory isn't very good at the moment."

Earlier, he described his frantic attempts to revive Steenkamp after he found her lying barely alive on the toilet floor and how she had died minutes later in his arms, her blood pouring over his body.

"I checked to see if she was breathing and she wasn't," he said. "I could feel the blood was running down on me."

After several attempts, he managed to carry Steenkamp down stairs where neighbours tried to administer first aid before paramedics arrived.

But Pistorius said he knew that Steenkamp - with whom he said he was planning to buy a house - was already dead.

"Reeva, Reeva had already died whilst I was holding her, before the ambulance arrived, so I knew there was nothing they could do for her."

Reuters

 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Tourist shot dead in Kenya was German
KENYAN police said Friday a female tourist shot dead in the coastal city of Mombasa was from Germany, the second such killing of a foreign visitor by gunmen there this month...
Al Shabaab commanders killed in AU offensive
AFRICAN Union troops in Somalia said they had killed two "senior" commanders of the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents, in the latest push...
No survivors on Algeria flight, black box found
No one survived the crash of an Air Algerie flight over Mali, says French President Francois Hollande....
Man sues for penis amputation instead of circumcision
An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday...
China executes Japanese national over drugs
China on Friday executed a Japanese man for drug offences, according to Tokyo's diplomats and media reports....
Wreckage of missing Algerian plane found
The wreckage of an Air Algerie plane missing since early Thursday with 116 people on board has been found in Mali....
Should government review powers of kings?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter