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Pistorius 'Bowled Over' By Steenkamp And Hoped To Move In Together, Court Hears

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Oscar Pistorius has spoken of his love for his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, before the Valentine's Day shooting in 2013.

The Paralympic athlete denies deliberately killing his model girlfriend, who he shot through the bathroom door at his home in Pretoria. This morning, he told the court how there is not a day when he does not think of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and her family, saying he wakes up terrified every night.

"I was bowled over by how much I felt for her," he said of Steenkamp on Monday afternoon.

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Oscar Pistorius has spoken of his love for his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

He had hoped to move from Pretoria and buy a house in Johannesburg in December 2012 "as my relationship with Reeva was becoming serious", he told the court on the first day of his testimony at the murder trial.

The pair hoped to move in together, he said. He had put an offer in for a Johannesburg house, and was fixing up his house in Pretoria in order to sell it.

In a wide-ranging, but short, testimony after lunch, a trembling and emotional Pistorius was asked about his drinking habits, his religion and whether he had been a regular victim of crime.

"My religion is very important to me," he said, describing growing up as a Methodist with his late mother a member of the church choir. He and Steenkamp would pray before they ate, he said.

"My God is the god of refuge," Pistorius said, saying religion had got him through the past year since the killing. Earlier, as he took the stand on Monday morning, Pistorius had appealed to God to help him.

Pistorius said he rarely drank, and only when he was not in training. "I never take performance enhancing drugs, and I am very selected about supplements I take. When my mother passed away, I smoked Dagga with a friend. Since then I haven't taken any substance of any kind," he said.

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When he moved to the Silver Wood's estate [the house where Steenkamp was shot] he was "aware there was a lot of crimes being committed", said Pistorius. "I was aware of a housekeeper being tied up. I think that was in 2012, during the day."

Earlier he spoke of numerous violent crimes and robberies that had affected him and family members. "Everyone in South Africa has been a victim of crime. There were many house break-ins when I was growing up. My father has had his car hijacked twice since I was a kid.

"Many members of my family have been victims of violent crime."

Pistorius said he had his home broken into, been followed home late at night "more than once", and once with ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor, and had "been shot at on the highway".

Pistorius described incidents where he had both helped victims of violent crime, and been a victim himself, and spoke of a time at a party when he was targeted and beaten - receiving a black eye and requiring stitches.

After just 40 minutes in the dock after lunch, Pistorius was asked if he had slept at all the night before. "No, my lady," he replied.

"He does look exhausted. He does sound exhausted," the judge said, and agreed to adjourn the trial until Tuesday.

On Monday morning, Pistorius had described how he had been on anti-depressants for 14 months. "I am scared to sleep. I have terrible nightmares," he said. "I always lie awake in a complete state of terror, I would rather not fall asleep than wake in terror. I wake up with the smell, the smell of blood."

South Africa has no trial by jury, and Judge Thokozile Masipa will decide whether Pistorius is guilty or not guilty of murder. The trial is resuming after 10 days recess, because of a court official's illness.

The case continues.