Oscar Pistorius – trial update

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One of my most popular posts last year was a look at the Oscar Pistoris case and the forensic evidence that may be used in the case.  Here’s a quick update.

Original post found here.

We are now two days into the trial of Oscar Pistorius, charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentines Day 2013.  On day one he plead not guilty to her murder.  So far the evidence has focussed on the neighbours’ testimony that there were screams heard shortly before shots were fired.  Three witnesses have sworn that they heard loud arguments between a male and a female, which counters his defence of hearing an intruder in the bathroom when he believed Ms Steemkamp was in bed.  The claim that screams were heard after the shots have been countered with the prosecution trailing the forensic ballistics evidence.  They outlined the ballistics evidence today, suggesting there was no way the screams could have been between or after the shots. It was said that a ballistics expert reported four shots – hitting the right thigh of the victim, a wall, her shoulder and the fourth causing the fatal blow, hitting her in the head.

The ballistics, it would seem are going to be one of the key pieces of the case for prosecutor Gerrie Nel.   I expect they will outline the height from which the gun was fired and how far from the toilet he was.  They have not revieled what other forensic evidence will be used so I will keep my eyes and ears open!

I’m looking forward to getting into the forensic evidence, I’ll come back with another update when we have some to dicuss!


Thanks for reading.


OP Photo from Flickr user Alex W. This picture shows a Nike commercial launched just at the time of the death of Reeva Steenkamp.  The ad’s were hastily withdrawn.


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About Dr Tom Bassindale

Dr Tom Bassindale is a forensic scientist, and the founder of We Are Forensic. He is currently the subject lead for chemistry and forensic science at Sheffield Hallam University. He's managed hundreds of forensic toxicology cases, and is an experienced court witness. He has specialist expertise in forensic toxicology and drug testing in sport. And yes... he watches CSI.