Court hears chilling details of Senzo Meyiwa’s post-mortem

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Former Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa could have died within minutes after he was shot at his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo’s mother’s house in 2014. The shot to his chest led to internal injuries to the heart and lung leading to internal bleeding which caused his death. These are some of the chilling details the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday morning. 

Specialist forensic pathologist, Dr Johannes Steenekamp has told the court that the wound to Meyiwa’s chest was consistent with a contact shot, which means the gun was on his body when it was fired.   

“Situated just below the skin, blackened granular materials, consistent with gunshot residue, are noted in the underlying soft tissue. This would be consistent with a contact bullet wound.” 

He says he believes Meyiwa’s death was not immediate.

Meyiwa was rushed to the nearby Botshelong Hospital after he was shot. He was declared dead on arrival and no treatment was administered to him at the hospital as a result.

“The deceased could have moved forward and bent down slightly at the waist if the accused was standing right in front of him. Or he could have tried to push the firearm away from his body, pushing it down,” says Steenekamp.  

He says the movement of the bullet through the body was in a downward trajectory moving away from the centre of the body. 

Accused 1, 2, 4 and 5 held their heads down as the pathologist gave the details while accused 3 stared at the witness.  

“It lacerates the heart resulting in a 3cm x 1cm irregular laceration extending from the anterior wall of the right ventricle, partially lacerating the right coronary artery and extending into the right atrium. Hemorrhages surround this laceration. It bruises the upper lobe of the right lung. It perforates the lower lobe of the right lung leaving a 5cm x 3cm irregular perforating, hemorrhagic, lacerated wound. It is then joined to the wound number 3,” he explains. 

The accused’s heads were later up again. 

Steenekamp says Meyiwa’s right chest cavity contained free and clotted blood, which he says was “caused by internal bleeding from the heart and the lungs. The blood, although it is inside the body, is not inside the blood vessels”. 

According to the former Johannesburg district surgeon who retired in 2016, the former Bafana Bafana captain would have started bleeding immediately after the bullet had exited his body at the back.  

“Once the bullet injured the lung and heart, he would have started bleeding immediately,” he says.  

There were no injuries to the head, neck, mouth, tongue or other parts of the body, according to Steenekamp. 

Live stream of court proceedings: