Pistorius weeps, vomits

Pistorius weeps, vomits

Track star Oscar Pistorius, on trial for the murder of his  girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, wept and vomited into a bucket in a South African courtroom on Monday after hearing graphic details from her autopsy.

Pathologist Gert Saayman was interrupted several times by the 27-year-old Paralympic and Olympic athlete's sobbing and retching but the defence team argued against an adjournment, saying a break would not improve his state of mind.

Earlier, Judge Thokozile Masipa imposed a broadcast blackout on Saayman's testimony out of respect for Steenkamp's family and to prevent 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," Saayam said when he took the stand to ask for a temporary broadcast blackout of a trial that has so far been shown in its entirety on live television.

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

As a compromise media suggested to compile a summary of the testimony and only broadcast after the state and defence agreed on the content. Masipa said she would rule on the application on Tuesday.

Last week media organisations had broadcast and published photos of the state’s first witness, University of Pretoria lecturer Michelle Burger, found on other websites.

“I am warning the media, if you do not behave, you will not be treated with soft gloves,” the judge said at the time.

Pistorius, nicknamed "Bla­derunner" for the special prosthetics he wears in competition, admits he shot 29-year-old Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, 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, Saayman confirmed that Steenkamp was hit in the head, arm and hip by three shots fired through the locked door of a toilet cubicle. A fourth round fired by Pistorius missed.

Saayman also disclosed Pistorius was using 'hollow-point' rounds, ammunition designed to disintegrate on impact with tissue to cause maximum damage.

Her right upper arm was shattered, the hip wound could well have been fatal, while that to her head would have incapacitated her immediately, he added. No blood was found in her airways, suggesting she breathed only a few times before dying.

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