First aid

Updated 11 March 2014

What we know about Reeva’s Injuries

Here's what we know about the injuries that Reeva Steenkamp sustained.


Model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp sustained various injuries after she was shot with a highly-dangerous Black Talon hollow point bullet from the 9mm pistol wielded by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius.

On Monday it was revealed in the Pretoria High Court that Reeva Steenkamp sustained bruising to her back, buttocks and breast. This is consistent with the use of hollowpoint rounds, which expand upon impact to cause maximum damage to their target.

Her right buttock was bluish in colour, which Pathologist Gert Saayman said could have stemmed from the injury that Reeva sustained on her right hip, where a bullet had penetrated.

Read: Groin injuries

Reeva also had two scratches on her back which could have been caused by a blunt object or shrapnel and there was some reddish discoloration on her right nipple.

Saayman described the wound to her left hand, on the skin between the index and third finger, but said it was impossible to say which way the bullet had travelled.

Saayman told the court that Reeva also sustained wounds to her head to which he described as a debilitating wound and that there was physical damage to the brain because of a substantial fracture to the base of the skull.

Read: What are head injuries?

The injuries to her arm and hip area could also have been fatal, though not immediately, as the hip bone was shattered and it was likely to cause immediate instability and bleeding, explained Saayman.

Crucially, however, both injuries on arm and hip would not have had an impact on the cognitive abilities of Steenkamp. This is of key relevance to the prosecution's claim that Reeva screamed for help before being killed.

Read more:
Blood spatter analysis – how it works
Why is Oscar vomiting?


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