10 March 2014

South Africa: Pistorius Used Expanding Bullet - Expert

Pretoria — The bullets fired from Oscar Pistorius's gun which killed Reeva Steenkamp are known as expanding bullets, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.

They were designed to cause maximum tissue damage, pathologist Professor Gert Saayman said.

Such a bullet caused major damage, opening up when striking human tissue.

Doctors knew to be careful when dealing with such wounds because they could cut themselves on the projectile.

Pistorius sat in the dock with his head down and hands covering his face.

He closed his ears and gagged as Saayman gave graphical evidence.

Steenkamp had a blue discoloration on her inner right buttocks that could have been caused from the bullet wound to her right hip.

"But no projectile could be found," said Saayman.

There was also a reddish bruise on the right nipple.

The court heard that Steenkamp had a few bruises on her body that were not as a result of the shooting.

Her upper eyelids were blue-reddish and there was soft tissue swelling but no injury to the eyes.

This was not caused by direct trauma but a fracture to the skull.

As Saayman explained that it could have been blood leaking from the skull Pistorius retched loudly.

There were also bruises on the upper part of the right thigh that were not linked to the shooting and behind the left knee and the left shin.

Pistorius is on trial for the murder of Steenkamp who was shot through a locked bathroom door of his Pretoria home on February 14 last year. He said he had mistaken her for an intruder.

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