Oscar Pistorius trial: Day 13 review

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Reeva Steenkamp was standing in a toilet cubical when she was shot four times through a locked door by Oscar Pistorius, Pretoria's High Court has heard.

Police ballistic expert Captain Christiaan Mangena took the stand as the Oscar Pistorius murder trial entered its 13th day in Pretoria and revealed his assessment on what he believed happened on Valentine's Day 2013.

According to Mr Mangena, Ms Steenkamp was standing in the toilet cubical when she was hit in the hip with the first of four bullets. The model then fell back before being hit in the right arm and the head. She was facing the door when Olympic athlete Mr Pistorius opened fire.

“That bullet penetrated and broke the hip bone of the deceased. If the hip bone is broken completely, it causes her to fall down, she would not have been able to stand. She fell down and moved backwards,” he told the court on Wednesday.

He continued to say that the bullet that struck her head fractured into two pieces, causing extensive and fatal damage. The second shot fired by Mr Pistorius missed Ms Steenkamp. Mr Mangena could not confirm the order of the last two shots.

The ballistic expert said Ms Steenkamp then fell on the magazine rack in the bathroom, in a seated position when a subsequent bullet missed her before the fourth bullet struck her head and killed her.

Mr Pistorius' defence lawyer, Barry Roux, cross-examined the witness in a growingly-familiar aggressive manor in an attempt to discredit Mr Mangena's testimony.

Roux insisted that the defence's own expert analysis shows that bruises on Ms Steenkamp's back came from the magazine rack and not from secondary bullet fragments. Captain Mangena, a respected expert with 20 years experience, told Roux 10 times that “I disagree.”

“But you didn’t test it, did you?” Mr Roux asked him.

“No I didn’t, but if a test has been done, show me the results of those test, and I will see if I agree,” he replied.

“But you didn’t test it yourself, did you?”

“No, I didn’t,” he said, but added. “I have done a lot of cases, and a lot of crime scenes, and that is my assessment.”

Mr Pistorius denies the charge of premeditated murder of his girlfriend Ms Steenkamp, claiming he mistook her for an intruder.

The court has been adjourned until Monday 24th March with the state and defence aiming to end proceedings next week.

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