Reeva’s blood-drenched hair left trail

Crime & Courts


Pretoria - The longblonde hair of model Reeva Steenkamp was drenched in blood. This left a blood trail leading from the bathroom to the bottom of the staircase when Oscar Pistorius rushed downstairs with her in his arms.

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A photograph as part of the evidence in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial is shown at the high court in Pretoria on Wednesday, 19 March 2014. Picture: Leon Sadiki/Citypress/PoolOscar Pistorius holds his head in his hands during his murder trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Picture: Brendan Croft

The wounds to her head and to her arm caused arterial spurting, resulting in pools of blood in the toilet, where she was found slumped next to the toilet bowl, and in the bathroom.

This is according to police bloodstain expert Lieutenant-Colonel Ian van der Nest, who took the stand on Wednesday in Pistorius’s North Gauteng High Court murder trial.

Analysing the blood patterns, Van der Nest said it was clear Steenkamp was lifted out of the toilet and carried through the bathroom, via the main bedroom and down the stairs to where she was found. The bloodstains found between the toilet and the downstairs foyer where she was left next to the staircase were a combination of arterial spurts, contact and drip patterns.

Van der Nest said Pistorius’s version, which he gave the court during his bail explanation, was consistent with what he found when he examined the blood patterns.

At the time, Pistorius said that after he tried to bash the door of the toilet open with his cricket bat, a panel broke off and he managed to unlock the door.

“Reeva was slumped, but alive.

“I battled to get her out of the toilet and pulled her out of the bathroom… I picked her up and carried her downstairs,” Pistorius said in his statement at the time.

Van der Nest said that if one looked at the pools of blood in the toilet, it was clear Steenkamp had been hit there. The blood he found in the bathroom tied in with her being dragged from the toilet and being deposited on the bathroom floor.

The blood from her severed arteries accounted for the large spatter stains, together with smaller secondary spatters deposited on objects around her, including the blood on the bat that was left in the bathroom.

Contact blood stains were visible on the bathroom floor, emanating from her hair which was saturated in blood, he testified.

It was clear that Steenkamp suffered the gunshot wounds inside the toilet, he said.

Three of the four wounds – the one to her hip, arm and head resulted in her bleeding profusely. The wounds to the head and arm resulted in the spurting of blood, known as arterial spurt, he said.

Strands of hair and human tissue emanating from her head wound could be seen on the inside of the toilet lid, seat and bowl.

Van der Nest said there were no significant blood splatters on the walls above the toilet seat.

This suggested Steenkamp’s head was in the vicinity of the toilet bowl when she was shot.

After examining the black vest Steenkamp had worn early that morning, Van der Nest found human tissue, mixed with blood, on the garment.

Steenkamp’s arm had to have been raised when she was shot and she had held it close to the vest, which explained the human tissue on it, he said.

The shorts she wore were stained from the top to the bottom and held a significant volume of blood.

The mark on her shorts and the wound she suffered to her hip matched each other’s position, he said, which was an indication that Steenkamp was wearing her shorts when she was shot. - Pretoria News

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