Oscar Pistorius had to be removed from court on Tuesday (08Apr14) after he broke down in hysterical sobs while recalling the night he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The embattled South African Paralympian, who is on trial in Pretoria accused of murdering Steenkamp in February last year (13), spoke in court for the first time about the night he killed his girlfriend in the bathroom of his home.
During his tearful testimony, Pistorius claimed he mistook his lover for a burglar, insisting he believed an armed intruder had come in through the bathroom window of his home and was behind the locked toilet door.
Pistorius told the court, "I wasn't sure if somebody was going to come out of the toilet and attack me or come up the ladder (outside the window) and start shooting. So I stayed where I was and kept on screaming and then I heard a noise from inside the toilet, what I perceived to be somebody coming out of the toilet. Before I knew, I had fired four shots at the door. My ears were ringing, I couldn't hear anything... I kept on shouting for Reeva to phone the police, I was still scared to retreat... I don't now how long I stood there for."
He claimed he realised it could be Steenkamp inside the toilet when he could not find her in the bedroom and then tried to break down the door with a cricket bat before finding the key.
Pistorius added, "I saw the key so I took it, unlocked the (toilet) door, threw it open and sat over Reeva and I cried... I don't know how long I was there for... She was not breathing."
The athlete's sobs then became uncontrollable, prompting his defence counsel Barry Roux to ask for a brief adjournment to allow the star to regain his composure.
Following the short break, the lawyer then requested the trial be postponed until Wednesday morning (09Apr14) as Pistorius did not seem fit to continue.
Earlier in the day, Pistorius changed into casual shorts so he could remove his prosthetic legs in the courtroom. He was asked to stand next to a mocked-up version of the bathroom door with his prosthetic legs on and again without them, to show he is unbalanced and almost half his usual height on his stumps.
Pistorius, 27, denies one charge of murder and three firearms offences.
The trial continues.
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