Oscar Pistorius gets sick again in court after seeing graphic pictures of blood-soaked bathroom

Picture after picture flashed across the screen at Oscar Pistorius’s trial Thursday, each more horrifying than the last. There was an image of a white toilet, splashed with crimson. There was a picture of an artificial foot, lacquered in blood.

Then, finally, there was a picture of Reeva Steenkamp’s corpse.

The crowd gasped. Steenkamp’s family wept. And Pistorius, wearing a dark suit and a darker expression, sank his head into his hands and vomited. It was the second time the double amputee, who once thrilled the world with his Olympic exploits, was sick this week in a murder trial that has captured international attention.

On Valentine’s Day last year, Pistorius shot his 9mm four times through the bathroom door of his opulent Pretoria mansion, killing his model girlfriend Steenkamp. That fact is not in dispute. What is, however, are Pistorius’s intentions.

Did he, as he claims, think an intruder had broken into his home and, feeling vulnerable without his prosthetic legs, act to defend himself? Or, as prosecutors allege, did Pistorius kill his girlfriend following a vicious argument?

The prosecution continued to unfurl more chilling photographs on Friday. One showed Pistorius wearing shorts soaked in blood, standing on a pair of blood-stained prosthetic legs. The image, the AP reports, was taken shortly after the athlete shot and killed his girlfriend. Another, taken in Pistorius’s garage, depicted the heavily-muscled Pistorius without his shirt. Blood stains inked his legs up to his knees.

Thursday’s testimony was also consumed with images of that bloody night. One showed a silver handgun. It lay on a gray towel next to several splatters of blood and a discarded cell phone. “The safety clip had been removed,” explained state witness Giliam van Rensburg, a retired cop who was the first to arrive at Pistorius’ house. “That firearm as it is lying there is ready to fire.”

When Rensburg arrived that night, the Mail & Guardian reports, he found Pistorius in the kitchen. In the bathroom, he discovered the body of a blonde woman, covered in blood-soaked towels and clothes.

Rensburg says he asked Pistorius what had happened. But Pistorius, who he said was emotional, “did not answer.”

“I observed him as a suspect at that stage,” AP reports van Rensburg saying.

Terrence McCoy is a foreign affairs writer at the Washington Post. He served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Cambodia and studied international politics at Columbia University. Follow him on Twitter here.
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