Analyst explains Reeva’s blood trail

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Copy of Copy of South Africa Pistorius Trial~33 AP Oscar Pistorius holds his head in his hands during his murder trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Picture: Brendan Croft

Pretoria - The next State witness called to the stand in Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial was blood spatter analyst Colonel Ian van der Nest.

He told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that he had been involved in more than 1 300 investigators.

Van der Nest was instructed by his commander to attend the post-mortem at Pistorius’s home the night he shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp.

He was asked to determine if blunt force trauma had contributed to Steenkamp's death, and analysed the blood trail throughout the house and the bloody cricket bat found in Pistorius's bathroom.

He said he could not find any evidence of blunt trauma, and that bloodstains downstairs had come from Steenkamp's injuries - “arterial spurting” - when she was being brought to the ground floor.

He marked each blood area he investigated with blue post-it notes, from the upstairs bathroom where the shooting occurred, all the way downstairs.

Van der Nest said the smudges of blood on the walls and railings of the wall were contact staining.

He said Steenkamp's long hair was bloodsoaked, as were her shorts which both held large bodies of blood, which mainly contributed to the drip trail.

The railings appeared to have been brushed by Steenkamp's hair.

He determined that the wounds she suffered were consistent with gunshots, and two of these wounds - to the head and arm - could have resulted in the arterial spatter.

The court was once again shown the toilet cubicle where Steenkamp was shot, with blood spots and trails all around. On the toilet lid was some light spatter and traces of broken hair and tissue.

Van der Nest said the broken hair proved that Steenkamp's head had come into contact with the toilet seat, and she had been shot in close proximity to it.

He said she most likely sustained the head wound somewhere in front of the lid.

The heavy flow of blood on the floor came from the continual bleeding from her arm.

He added there had been some staining on the inside of the door, but he could not conclude exactly where it had come from.

Van der Nest also said there were no wounds that indicated blunt force trauma.

He said he came to the same conclusion as ballistics expert Captain Chris Mangena that Steenkamp's arms had been raised towards her upper body.

Defence advocate Barry Roux asked the colonel if it was possible if blood on Pistorius's hands could have spattered onto walls and other surfaces while in motion.

Van der Nest said it was.

The colonel then said he had received a copy of Pistorius's version of events.

He told the court that Pistorius's story was a reasonable version of what had happened, but it was not clear if he meant simply about the athlete's transport of Steenkamp's body.

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