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Reeva died in my arms, says Pistorius

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius is back in court in Pretoria describing events after shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home.

During his emotional testimony he said Steenkamp died before the ambulance arrived while he was holding her.

He said he tried to help her breathe and stem the bleeding from her hip.

The athlete denies deliberately shooting dead Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year, arguing he mistook her for an intruder.

Prosecutors contend he intentionally killed her in the toilet of his bathroom after a row.

The 27-year-old Olympic and Paralympic sprinter, who is a double amputee, faces life imprisonment if convicted of murder.

On Tuesday, he broke down in tears whilst describing the events leading up to the shooting and the actual event.

If acquitted, South African law stipulates that the court must consider the separate, lesser charge of culpable homicide, or manslaughter, for which he could receive between six and 15 years in prison.

Pistorius also faces charges of illegally firing a gun in public and of illegally possessing ammunition, both of which he denies.

There are no juries at trials in South Africa, and his fate will ultimately be decided by the judge, assisted by two assessors.

On his third day on the stand, Pistorius described the moments after paramedics had arrived at the scene.

“They asked for some space to work so I stood up. Reeva had already died whilst I was holding her before the ambulance arrived. So, I knew there was nothing they could do for her,” he told the court.

He also described his distress as police and other officials arrived at the house.

“I asked a policeman if I could wash my hands because the smell of the blood was making me throw up,” he said.

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