Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has recounted his version of events leading up to the fatal shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. However, court was adjourned early after the defendant broke down in tears.
On Tuesday, the court in Pretoria heard Oscar Pistorius' testimony about the series of events that led him to retrieve his gun and shoot through the bathroom door of his home in the early hours of February 14, 2013. The 27-year-old athlete is currently on trial for allegedly murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
During his second day on the stand in the South African court, Pistorius said he had become frightened an intruder had entered his upscale Pretoria home.
"I heard a noise from inside the toilet," Pistorius told the court. "That's the moment that everything changed…I thought that there was a burglar that was gaining entry to my home."
The defendant then stated that - believing his girlfriend was still in bed – he retrieved his 9mm pistol in order to protect both himself and Steenkamp.
"Before I knew it I'd fired four shots at the door," Pistorius said.
The defense lawyer, Barry Roux, asked the 27-year-old athlete on Tuesday to demonstrate how he stood next to the door without his prosthetic legs. Pistorius, a double leg amputee, says he was not wearing them at the time of the incident.
Court was adjourned early Tuesday afternoon following the defendant's description of finding Steenkamp dead, at which point he broke down into tears. The trial was set to resume on Wednesday.
The prosecution has rejected the paralympian's version of events, saying he intentionally murdered the 29-year-old model and law graduate after an argument.
On Monday, Pistorius began his first day of testimony by apologizing to Steenkamp's family, many of whom were sitting in the public gallery.
"There hasn't been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven't thought about your family. I wake up every morning and you are the first people I think of," he said. "I can't imagine the pain and emptiness that I caused you and your family."
Nicknamed "Blade Runner," Pistorius was the first double leg amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in the 2012 London Olympics. A top Paralympic performer since 2004, he went on to win two gold medals and a silver medal at the Paralympics in London.
If found guilty, Pistorius could face life imprisonment, which would require him to spend a minimum of 25 years in prison.
kms/hc (AP, AFP, Reuters)