Weeping Pistorius tells judge of anguish after he shot girlfriend
Oscar Pistorius broke down in sobs and howled as he told his murder trial how he first realised he had shot his girlfriend through a toilet door in his home.
The star athlete's emotional outburst as he described shooting Reeva Steenkamp forced the court to adjourn.
"I sat over Reeva and I cried," Pistorius said, telling how he broke open the stall door in his bathroom last year to discover his mortally wounded girlfriend slumped over in the cubicle.
"I don't know how long I was there for."
Pistorius has said he shot Ms Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder in his bathroom. Yesterday marked the first time he has spoken publicly on the details of the shooting.
Prosecutors call Pistorius's story an intricate lie and maintain he intentionally killed his 29-year-old girlfriend, a model and reality TV show star, after an argument.
The 27-year-old Olympian is charged with premeditated murder over Ms Steenkamp's death and faces a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years before parole if convicted on that charge.
Pistorius began to cry loudly while giving evidence, forcing the judge to order a brief adjournment.
When Judge Thokozile Masipa returned, she called an early adjournment. Pistorius had by that time returned to sit, jaw clenched, in the witness box.
In a dramatic day, Pistorius had also left the room briefly at one point to change out of his dark suit and into a white shirt and shorts, with his prosthetic legs showing. He was then asked by Mr Roux to take off his prosthetics in court and stand on his stumps by the bullet-marked toilet door, which has stood in the courtroom for much of the trial.
It was a partial re-enactment of the fatal night, with Pistorius claiming he felt vulnerable when he shot his 9mm pistol at the toilet cubicle while only standing on his stumps.
Pistorius repeated that he was filled with terror because of the possibility of an intruder in the cubicle.
"I wasn't sure if someone was going to come out the toilet and attack me," he said.
He said he then heard a noise from inside the cubicle and said "before I knew it I had fired four shots at the do or".
Pistorius spoke in a hushed voice, which sometimes quivered, and was asked on more than one occasion by the judge to speak up.
He said after the shots he had searched for Ms Steenkamp in his darkened bedroom, patting the bed where he claims he thought she was, searching on the floor next to it where he thought she might be hiding, and also behind the curtains.
"It was at that point... that it first dawned on me that maybe it was Reeva in the toilet," Pistorius said, adding he then began screaming for help. "I don't think I've ever screamed like that... I was crying out for the Lord to help me, I was crying out for Reeva."