'Steenkamp had significant internal trauma'

Professor Gert Saayman believes Oscar Pistorius used Black Talon or ranger ammunition.

Slain model Reeva Steenkamp. Picture: Carte Blanche.

PRETORIA - The type of ammunition Oscar Pistorius used when he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp has come under the spotlight in his murder trial.

Reeva Steenkamp. Picture:Carte Blanche.

State pathologist Gert Saayman testified in the Pretoria High Court on Monday.

Shortly before the professor took to the stand, Judge Thokozile Masipa ruled in favour of an application for all live broadcasts, including the use of Twitter, to be switched off for the duration of Saayman's testimony due to the graphic nature of the post-mortem evidence.

Click here to listen to the entire application, submissions and ruling.

Pistorius is accused of murdering his 29-year-old girlfriend at his upmarket Pretoria East home on Valentine's Day last year.

An overhead view of Silver Woods Country Estate in Pretoria. Picture: Carte Blanche.

The 27-year-old also faces gun-related charges.

An emotional Oscar Pistorius at the High Court in Pretoria during his murder trial on 10 March 2014. Picture: Pool.

The pathologist on Monday told the court the Port Elizabeth model sustained significant internal trauma after being struck by at least three bullets.

In total, Pistorius fired four shots through a wooden door.

The aftermath of the shooting. Picture: Sky News.

Saayman says he recovered fragments of projectiles from Steenkamp's body, which he believes are Black Talon or ranger ammunition.

He says this ammunition is designed to cause maximum tissue damage, which folds out like the petals of a flower as it disintegrates into the target.

The pathologist says surgeons know to be mindful of such ammunition when operating on victims because the sharp fragments can cut skin.

Saayman says the trauma to Steenkamp's head was so severe it was instantaneously incapacitating.

He says the model may have taken only a few breaths after sustaining the wound and died soon thereafter.


The contents of Steenkamp's stomach may prove vital to the state when discrediting Pistorius's timeline of events.

Saayman told the court a small amount of food, which he believes to be partially digested vegetables, were found in the model's stomach.

He says different types of food take different times to pass through the stomach, with protein taking the longest to digest.

The doctor says Steenkamp ingested the food no more than two hours before her death.

The so-called Blade Runner claims he and his girlfriend went to bed at about 10pm the previous evening.

The deadly shooting took place shortly after 3am.

EWN video: A 3D look inside Oscar's house.


The athlete retched and vomited on a number of occasions while Saayman gave graphic details from Steenkamp's post-mortem report.

Defence Advocate Barry Roux called for an adjournment to allow his client to compose himself.

Advocate Barry Roux. Picture: Pool.

During the break, Pistorius's relatives headed to the dock where they prayed with him.

Pistorius was comforted by his sister Aimee, while others huddled around him and held his hand.

The athlete buried his head in his hands when the court was told that Saayman's evidence would be too graphic to publicise.

Oscar Pistorius cries as he talks to his lawyer Barry Roux during his trial at the High Court in Pretoria on 10 March 2014. Picture: Pool.

A Johannesburg-based psychologist says Pistorius's reaction could possibly be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Roux will have an opportunity to cross-examine Saayman when the matter resumes on Tuesday.

EWN video: An emotional first week

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View the live blog and listen to live audio streaming from the trial.