Oscar's bullets designed for maximum damage - Saayman

This demonstration shows the difference between the two most common types of bullets. Courtesy First Science.TV/ Video: YouTube
This video demonstrates shooting a .357 black talon (hollow point bullet) at some ballistics gel at a close range so the bullet can be retrieved. Video: YouTube
Testimony from forensic pathologist Gert Saayman's testimony visibly upset Oscar Pistorius. The athlete apparently vomited in the dock. Court was adjourned for a short while before lunch, giving him a chance to regain his composure. Video: eNCA
File: Oscar Pistorius appeared visibly weak by the end of Gert Saayman’s testimony. Photo: SAPA

PRETORIA – The bullets which Oscar Pistorius used were designed to create maximum tissue damage.

This was the evidence given by forensic pathologist Dr Gert Saayman on day six of the Oscar Pistorius trial.

The sharp sound of Oscar Pistorius vomiting and dry retching into a bucket could at times be heard above Saayman’s testimony.

The Olympic and Paralympic athlete sat with his head in his hands for the most part of the testimony, only sitting up right towards the end of Saayman’s evidence.

He appeared visibly weak by the end of Saayman’s testimony, swaying slightly when the court was adjourned for the day.

Saayman told the court that the type of ammunition retrieved from Reeva Steenkamp’s body during the autopsy was called “ranger type” ammunition.

He added that it had previously been known as “black talon” ammunition.

Saayman told the court that forensic pathologists deal with this sort of ammunition quite often.

He added that it is a very, very specific kind of projectile.

Saayman added that each type of ammunition is purpose-built for a particular type of outcome.

Saayman explained further that ranger ammunition was an “expanding bullet”, which is designed to mushroom and open up when it strikes human tissue.

He said it is a projectile which is designed to cause maximum tissue damage.

Saayman added that when mushrooming, the sharp bullet edges would damage the tissue.

Saayman also testified that Steenkamp’s stomach contents indicated that she had eaten about two hours before her death – meaning she would have eaten around 1am.

Asked about the injuries, he said the gunshot wound to Steenkamp’s arm was a particularly devastating injury.

Saayman described the hip injury as one which could have caused Steenkamp to collapse because her hip bone would have been shattered.

Saaymaan is expected to testify further on Tuesday.


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