04/03/2014 09:31 GMT | Updated 04/03/2014 15:59 GMT

Oscar Pistorius Breaks Down As Court Hears Graphic Descriptions Of Reeva Steenkamp's Injuries (PICTURES)

Oscar Pistorius broke down in tears today as his defence lawyer argued that Reeva Steenkamp was so badly brain damaged by the gunshot to her head she would have been unable to make a sound.

After the first witness in the case, Michelle Burger, described what she heard on the night the model was killed, lawyers argued Miss Steenkamp couldn't possibly have screamed due to her catastrophic injuries, which caused "serious brain damage."


As the graphic description was read out, the emotional Paralympian was seen bent double in the dock, with his hands behind his head.


After a relative in court handed him a handkerchief, Pistorius wiped tears from his eyes as the court heard details of the bullets hitting Ms Steenkamp and the removal of fragments from her head during the post mortem.

But advocate Barry Roux told the court: "We will have experts state that there was serious brain damage after the shot to the head, that it would not have been possible for her to scream at all.

"With the head shot, she would have dropped down immediately."



A tearful Ms Burger, a university lecturer who lives near the athlete's Pretoria home, faced a second day of questioning on day two of the trial, describing how she was still haunted by the screams she had heard.

"When I'm in the shower, I relive her shouts. The terrifying screams," she told the North Gauteng High Court.

She said yesterday that she heard "blood-curdling" screams from a woman before, during and after shots rang out in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

She rejected the suggestion by Mr Roux, Pistorius' lawyer, that she heard Oscar screaming "like a woman" out of panic.

A second witness also told the murder trial Tuesday that she heard "loud voices" arguing, followed by "shots or explosions" the night Miss Steenkamp, an FHM model and law graduate, was killed.

Estelle van der Merwe, who lived just under 100 metres from Pistorius' Pretoria house, said she was woken just before 2am on St Valentine's Day by the row, which went on for around an hour before she heard shots fired.

Earlier, the second day of the murder trial was dramatically interrupted following allegations that a South African television channel was broadcasting a photograph of a witness — against a court order guaranteeing privacy to witnesses who request it.

Judge Thokozile Masipa ordered an immediate investigation into allegations, adding: "I must say this is very disturbing. This may just be the tip of the iceberg. I must warn the media that you are not going to be treated with soft gloves."

Pistorius pleaded not guilty to murder and three unrelated gun charges on the opening day of the trial.

Pistorius says he shot Miss Steenkamp through the locked lavatory door of his home by accident believing her to be an intruder, while the state contends he shot the model deliberately after a row.

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