News / Africa

Anesthetist, Social Worker Testify in Pistorius Murder Trial

South African Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock during his murder trial in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, May 8, 2014.
South African Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock during his murder trial in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, May 8, 2014.

Multimedia

VOA News
Oscar Pistorius' defense team called an anesthetist to testify at the double-amputee runner's murder trial on Thursday, and, later, a social worker assigned to Pistorius’ case described him as heartbroken over the shooting.

Professor Aina Christina Lundgren was called in an attempt to counter prosecution claims that Pistorius is lying about the timeline of events on the night he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Lundgren was questioned on her expertise regarding how long it takes a person to digest food after eating.

The testimony relates to an autopsy report on Steenkamp's body that said she still had food in her stomach after she was killed by Pistorius, leading prosecutors to challenge his story that the couple last ate around eight hours before he shot her through a toilet door.

Food digestion

An expert testifying for the prosecution said a person's stomach is normally empty of food six hours after eating and claimed Steenkamp ate much later on the night of the killing and not in line with Pistorius' story.

Prosecutors say that's because the couple were up arguing late into the night before Pistorius shot Steenkamp multiple times in the midst of a heated fight through a toilet stall door in his bathroom.

Lundgren, who described herself as a specialist anesthetist, testified that there were a number of factors that could have delayed the digestion process in Steenkamp to explain the food found in her stomach, including that she was a pre-menopausal woman and had been sleeping.

Pistorius has denied the murder charge, saying he killed Steenkamp by mistake on Feb. 14, 2013, thinking she was an intruder when he shot her multiple times.

Also testifying Thursday, Yvette Schalkwyk, who has been visiting Pistorius since Steenkamp's death, dismissed suggestions that Pistorius, who has broken down repeatedly in court, was using his emotions to deflect tough questioning.

"I was very upset when I read that people were saying that Oscar took acting lessons," she told the Pretoria High Court. "I wanted to come and give my observation of what I saw."

Schalkwyk said Pistorius, 27, had told her he missed Steenkamp, 29, a law graduate and model, a great deal and was crying "80 percent of the time.”

Steenkamp died almost instantly after being hit by four hollow-point 9mm rounds fired through a toilet door.

Pistorius says it was a tragic mistake after he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder who had broken into his luxury Pretoria home. The state alleges that he shot her in a fit of rage after the couple had an argument.

Testimony found relevant

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel criticized Schalkwyk's evidence as irrelevant, but judge Thokozile Masipa said her views were valid, especially because Nel had accused the athlete of breaking down whenever he came under pressure on the witness stand.

If convicted of murder, Pistorius faces life in prison.

The trial, which has been running since early March, has drawn huge interest internationally and in South Africa, where it has been broadcast live on a dedicated cable television channel.

Before the shooting, Pistorius, who had his lower legs amputated as a baby, was one of the most recognized names in athletics, competing against able-bodied sprinters on carbon-fibre prosthetics.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More