Oscar Pistorius wailed on the stand today as he described his panic upon realizing his gunshots had killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
"She wasn't breathing," the track star heaved as he described the February night more than a year ago. The judge adjourned the murder trial as Pistorius' emotions unraveled and later ended proceedings for the day.
The Olympic sprinter had been explaining how he came to shoot Steenkamp, and how it didn't dawn on him at first that she, and not an intruder, may have been behind the bathroom door at which he fired his pistol.
"I didn't want to believe that it could be Reeva inside the toilet," he testified.
Pistorius said that after hearing noises, he made his way to the bathroom, pistol in hand.
The double-amputee braced himself against a bathroom wall as he noticed that a window was open, and became convinced that an intruder was inside his residence, he testified.
He screamed for Steenkamp to call the police.
Shortly before he fired his gun, he heard a noise from behind the door where the toilet is, and thought somebody was coming out.
"Before I knew it I fired four shots at the door," he said.
Once he returned to the bedroom and could not find his girlfriend, the thought crossed his mind for the first time that she might have been the one inside the bathroom, Pistorius testified.
"I was panicking at this point. I didn't know what to make or what to do," Pistorius recounted. "I don't think I've ever screamed like that. ... I was crying out to the Lord, I was crying out for Reeva."
He says he thought he was shooting at an intruder, but the prosecution accuses him of intentionally shooting her in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year after an argument.
The chain of events started when he woke in the night to hear the sound of the bathroom window sliding, he testified.
"My lady, that's the moment that everything changed," he told Judge Thokozile Masipa.
He described how he got out of bed on his stumps, found his gun under the bed and made his way toward the passage from his bedroom to the bathroom.
The emotion was clear in his voice as he told how he was "overcome by fear."
"There's no barrier between me and the bathroom window. I immediately thought that they could be there at any moment. The first thing that ran through my mind was that I needed to arm myself. I needed to protect Reeva and I and I needed to get my gun," he said.
Steenkamp's mother, June, who had listened stony-faced to Pistorius' earlier testimony, sank her head in her hand as he came to the crucial moments before her daughter's death.
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