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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid