Oscar Pistorius Vomits Again During Trial, After A Particularly Grisly Day Of Conflicting Evidence
Graphic close-up images of Oscar Pistorius's slain girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, flashed up briefly on the screen in court Thursday, just a few feet away from the former Paralympian's face. The stomach-churning images were too much for Pistorius, who vomited and began to sob. He then sat with his head in his hands, covering his head with sheets of paper.
The images flashed up on the screen by accident as the court scrolled through several crime scene photographs during the cross-examination of police forensics investigator Johannes Vermeulen. It's the second time this week that Pistorius has been sickened by evidence at the trial. The graphic testimony pertaining to Steenkamp's injuries ‚ deemed so grisly that the judge ordered that it not be recorded, and banned the media from tweeting about it — also caused Pistorius to vomit. A bucket has been placed underneath his table.
Pistorius's defense lawyer Barry Roux vigorously questioned the investigator, Vermeulen, following his testimony Wednesday that he believed Pistorius was probably not wearing his prosthetic legs when he used a cricket bat to bash down the door to the bathroom where Steenkamp lay mortally wounded. Roux showed Vermeulen images of Pistorius's blood-stained prosthetic legs, and asked about marks on the door thought to be made by a prosthetic foot.
Roux also showed Vermeulen and the court a YouTube video made by self-described "certified senior crime scene analyst" Alexander Jason, which compares the sound of a cricket bat striking a door to gunshots fired against it.
Roux used the video to suggest that what Pistorius's neighbors told the court sounded like gunshots and screaming — which, they testified, woke them on the night Steenkamp was killed — could well have been the sound of the cricket bat striking the door and Pistorius's distressed howls when he realized what he had done.
Later, the court was shown images of Pistorius's 9mm pistol lying on the blood-stained floor of the bathroom, blood-soaked towels, and the blood spatter on walls and furniture. Gen. G.S. van Rensburg, who was police district commander on the night of the shooting, testified in Afrikaans through a translator, describing what he saw when he arrived at the house at 3:55 a.m.
Rensburg told the court that he followed a "trail of blood" when he arrived on the scene, working his way through a folder of photographs that showed the layout of Pistorius's house and the items the police officers discovered, including the holster from his gun. The court was also shown a photograph of the bathroom door key on the outside of the inner toilet room door, which could be consistent with Pistorius's account of how he broke down the door to obtain the key to unlock it from the outside.
The court proceedings will resume Friday morning.