Oscar Pistorius told a South African court on Wednesday that his girlfriend died in his arms, blood pouring from her body, as he tried to revive her after shooting her by mistake.
Facing questioning from prosecutor Gerrie Nel for the first time in his murder trial, Pistorius admitted killing Reeva Steenkamp at his home on Feb.14 last year, but said “I made a mistake.”
The double amputee Olympic and Paralympic sprinter, once revered the world over for his triumph over adversity, faces life in prison, if convicted.
His defence hinges on his contention that he thought he was firing at an intruder when he shot Steenkamp through a toilet door in his luxury Pretoria home.
The prosecution aims to show he was a hot-headed character, who loved to play with guns.
Pistorius, fighting back tears, told the court how he desperately tried to revive Steenkamp, who was hit by three of four pistol rounds he fired through the door.
“I checked to see if she was breathing and she wasn’t. I could feel the blood was running down on me,” Pistorius said.
Pathologists said she was mortally wounded by one shot to the head.
He eventually managed to carry Steenkamp down stairs where neighbours tried to administer first aid before paramedics arrived. But Pistorius said he knew that Steenkamp – with whom he said he was planning to buy a house – was already dead.
“The paramedics arrived. They asked for some space to work so I stood up,” he said, his voice quavering with emotion.
“Reeva had already died whilst I was holding her, before the ambulance arrived, so I knew there was nothing they could do for her.”