Oscar Pistorius (Photo: Reuters)
Oscar Pistorius (Photo: Reuters)Reuters

Speaking of the moments leading up to the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February last year, Oscar Pistorius cried in court on Tuesday, recollecting the Valentine's Day gifts they were to give each other.

Taking his stand for the second time, the athlete began describing the moments that led to the shooting of Steenkamp, in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

Pistorius reiterated that he did not deliberately shoot Steenkamp in his home and, like always, argued that he mistook her for an intruder. He told the court that he was overcome with fear when he heard a noise from the bathroom. Describing the noise, he said at the trial: "That's the moment everything changed".

The 27-year-old described how he got out of bed on his stumps, found his gun under the bed and made his way to the passage from his bedroom to the bathroom.

"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 need to get my gun," he said in a trembling voice.

Pistorius said that he also whispered to Steenkamp to get down and call the police, assuming she was still in bed. He said that just before he got to the bathroom, he heard the toilet door slamming shut. It confirmed that someone was in the bathroom.

Pistorius, better known as 'the Blade Runner' due to the carbon-fire prosthetic limbs he uses in competitions, has been accused of killing Steenkamp deliberately, by firing four rounds of shots from a 9mm pistol, through a locked toilet door.

The Olympic sprinter has always argued that he mistook his 29-year-old girlfriend for an intruder, hiding in the toilet at his luxury Pretoria home. The Paralympic gold-medalist could face at least 25 years in prison, if found guilty of murder.

Earlier on Monday, when he took the stand for the first time, Pistorious apologized to Steenkamp's family and stated that he was "simply trying to protect" her.

"I have terrible nightmares where I wake up and smell Reeva", he told the court, adding that he has been on anti-depressants and sedatives since her death. He said that he is barely able to sleep and has lost considerable amount of weight since the event in 2013.

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