Pistorius trial: Sequence of shots in question

A ballistics experts has questioned the accuracy of the state's findings.

Oscar Pistorius enters the High Court in Pretoria ahead of his murder trial on 8 May 2014. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

PRETORIA - A defence forensic expert has testified in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial that it is not possible to determine the sequence of shots and Reeva Steenkamp's location when she was killed.

The defence has started calling its expert witnesses after two days of neighbours and friends taking the stand.

Pistorius shot and killed Steenkamp at his upmarket Silver Woods Country Estate home in Pretoria East on Valentine's Day last year.

The 27-year-old claimed he shot the 29-year-old thinking she was an intruder, but the state said it was premeditated murder.

Forensic consultant Wollie Wolmarans questioned the accuracy of the state's findings following tests conducted on the toilet door.

He said when the door was removed and re-erected at the crime scene, any slight deviation from its original position would influence an accurate determination of the bullet trajectory.

Wolmarans said the ongoing insertion of probes through the bullet holes could have affected the accuracy of the state's ballistics test.

He said even one degree of deflection caused by this damage would change the results of the tests.

The expert did, however, appear to contradict himself, saying Steenkamp's position could not be determined.

A reconstruction of the toilet erected at the High Court in Pretoria. Picture: Pool.

Anaesthetist Professor Christina Lundgren was earlier called to the stand to discuss the process of gastric emptying.

Earlier in the trial, state pathologist Professor Gert Saayman told the court Steenkamp had eaten approximately two hours before she died.

Pistorius, however, claims the couple ate at around 8pm, while Saayman maintains the model ate five hours later.

In terms of qualifications, Lundgren's PhD focused on deaths due to anaesthesia, and said factors such as sleeping, psychological disorders and some medication could delay gastric emptying.

Lundgren explained what may have delayed Steenkamp's gastric emptying.

"The meal may have contained insoluble fibre which would have delayed gastric emptying. She was a pre-menopausal woman. She performed yoga exercises that morning and the exercises delayed gastric emptying."

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel disagreed and said Saayman's evidence was more probable.

"She had 200 milliliters of recognisable food in her stomach after eight hours of being alive and a further at least five hours of being dead. That must mean that professor Saayman's evidence is more probable."


A social worker told the Pretoria High Court that the 'Blade Runner' is genuinely distressed and has not put on an act about his emotional state.

Yvette van Schalkwyk approached the defence team on Tuesday saying she wanted to testify after hearing media reports claiming the athlete went for acting classes prior to his murder trial.

Van Schalkwyk said she started monitoring Pistorius last year during his bail application.

She was asked to offer him emotional support.

Van Schalkwyk said they never discussed the merits of the case, just his emotional state.

"He said he is barely coping. He was crying. That day, he was just heartbroken."

Nel argued that during their discussions, Pistorius never once said he was sorry for what he did or showed any remorse.

Van Schalkwyk said that wasn't the purpose of her discussions with the athlete.