Oscar Pistorius breaks down as court hears Reeva Steenkamp autopsy details

Monday 10 March 2014 21.54
Oscar Pistorius, who denies murdering Reeva Steenkamp, became upset during evidence from the pathologist
Oscar Pistorius, who denies murdering Reeva Steenkamp, became upset during evidence from the pathologist

Oscar Pistorius broke down when a South African court heard details from the autopsy of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The Olympic and Paralympic sprinter is accused of murdering Ms Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

The testimony of pathologist Gert Saayman was interrupted twice by Mr Pistorius's sobbing and retching.

The defence team argued against an adjournment, saying a break would not improve the 27-year-old athlete's state of mind.

Earlier, Judge Thokozile Masipa imposed a broadcast blackout on Mr Saayman's testimony out of respect for Ms Steenkamp's family and to prevent viewers such as children from accidentally hearing its contents.

"Broadcast would compromise the privacy of the deceased, hurt the interests of the Steenkamps and be against the morals of society," Ms Saayam said when he took the stand to argue for a temporary broadcast blackout of the trial.

The trial has so far been shown in its entirety on live television.

Ms Masipa, who has been presiding over the week-long trial, extended the ban to live reporting on Twitter.

Mr Pistorius admits he shot 29-year-old Ms Steenkamp but argues that it was a tragic case of mistaken identity and that he thought she was an intruder who had broken in to his luxury Pretoria home.

In his testimony, Mr Saayman confirmed that Ms Steenkamp died from multiple gunshot wounds, having been hit in the head, arm and hip by three shots fired through the locked door of a toilet cubicle.

A fourth round fired by Mr Pistorius missed.

As Mr Saayman spoke, Mr Pistorius sat with head bowed, covering his ears with his hands and a white handkerchief.

Mr Sayaam was the first expert to testify at the trial, which has so far heard several witnesses who reported hearing a woman screaming before a volley shots at Mr Pistorius's home.