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Pistorius Sobs Heavily: "Before I Knew It, I'd Fired Four Shots"

09/04/2014 13:21 BST | Updated 08/06/2014 10:59 BST

Oscar Pistorius gave a heart-wrenching testimony at his murder trial in Pretoria today.

The sports star was in clear emotional distress as he howled uncontrollably in the dock recalling Reeva's lifeless body just moments after he shot her.

Describing himself as "overcome with fear", the athlete detailed his version of events on Valentine's Day last year, and there were gasps in court as he recalled mortally wounding his supermodel girlfriend allegedly believing her to be an intruder, saying: "Before I knew it, I'd fired four shots at the door."

Judge Masipa was forced to adjourn the trial early for the second day in a row after the heavily-sobbing athlete bawled loudly in the courtroom, failing to be comforted by his sister or defence counsel.

Pistorius' account of how he came to shoot 29-year-old Reeva reinforces his defence's claims that her death was culpable homicide and not wilful and intentional murder, as suggested by the prosecution.

If found guilty of murder, the star could face 25 years behind bars whereas the sentence for culpable homicide would be determined by the judge.

The 27-year-old blade runner has yet to be cross-examined by the prosecution where he will be expected to answer for the discrepancies between his testimony and other recorded version of events, including evidence given by his neighbours and his own signed affidavit which does not mention the sound of a door slamming and could prove to be an integral part of the state's case.

Grieving mother, June Steenkamp was in court to hear the gold medallist's testimony and looked sternly at the star throughout, only breaking her hardened stare to wipe tears from her cheeks.

The trial continues.

Full Testimony

"I woke up my lady in the early hours of the 14th of February. It was extremely warm in my room. I sat up in bed. I noticed that the fans were still running and the door was still open, although the lights had been switched off and Reeva was still awake or she was obviously not sleeping. She rolled over to me and she said, 'can't you sleep my baba?' and I said 'no, I can't no."

"I got out of my side of the bed, I walked around the bed at the foot of the bed, I was holding on to the foot of the bed with my left hand, I got to the fans, where the fans were. I took the small fan the floor fan, I placed it pretty much just inside the room, and I took the bigger tripod fan and I took it by the part just underneath the fan and I placed it in the bedroom. The fans were still running at the time. I then proceeded to close the sliding doors and lock them. I then drew the curtains.

"I came into the room at this point. The only bit of light that was in the room was the little LED light on the amplifier, where the TV cabinet was there was a little blue LED light and I could see a pair of jeans that were on the floor, Reevas jeans.

"I picked the jeans up and just placed them over the amplifier, over the light. It was at this point that I heard a window open in the bathroom it sounded like the window sliding open and I could hear the window hit the frame as it slipped to the point where it can't slide any more. All the frames in my house are wooden frames, my lady.

"My lady, that's the moment that everything changed.

"I thought that there was a burglar that was gaining entry to my home. I was on the side of the room where you first looked across the passage which leads to the bathroom. I think initially I was surprised I just didn't know what to do. I heard this noise, I interpreted it as somebody was coming into the bathroom. There's no door between the bathroom and my other room, it's all one. There's a passageway. But there's no door. There's a toilet door but there's no barrier between me and the bathroom. It's one room.

"I immediately thought that somebody, if they were at the window to the passage to where the passage was to be 3-4 metres, they could be there at any moment and the first thing that went through my mind is that I needed to arm myself, I needed to protect Reeva and I, that I needed to get my gun.

"And then I was looking down the passage, scared that the person was going to come out or people were going to come out at that point I rushed as quick as I could, and I couldn't see anything in the room so I ran with my hand out in front of me, at times touching the floor.

"And then when I got to my bed, I made my way along the side of my bed and I grabbed my firearm from underneath the bed and it had a canvas holster on it so I immediately took it out the holster.

"That point I wanted to just put myself between, get back to where the passage was so I could put myself between the person that had gained access to my house and Reeva but I got just before the passage wall and I remember slowing down because I was scared that at that point this person, during the time that I'd got my firearm could have possibly have already been in the passage in the closet passage.

"So I slowed down and had my firearm extended in front of me, just as I left my bed, I whispered for Reeva to get down and phone the police.

"As I entered where the passage is, where the closet is to where I entered the passage where the closet is, to the bathroom, it was at that point that I was just overcome with fear and I started screaming and shouting for the burglar or intruders to get out of my house. I shouted for Reeva to get on the floor, I shouted for her to phone the police, I screamed at the people to get out.

"I slowly made my way down the passage, constantly aware that this threat, these people or persons could come at me at any time. I didn't have my legs on. And erm, just before I got to the wall of the, of where the towels start in the bathroom I stopped shouting because I was worried that if I shout the person would know exactly where I was and if I put my head around the corner that I could get shot.

"Just before I got to the passage of the bathroom I heard a door slam which could have only been a toilet door. I couldn't see into the bathroom at this point but I could hear the door slam and for me it confirmed there was a person or people inside the toilet or inside the bathroom at that time.

"I got to the entrance of the bathroom. At the end of the passage. Where I stopped screaming. At that point that I was entering the bathroom I was not shouting or screaming. At that point I thought that the intruder or intruders were going to come out or were around the corner or were in the bathroom at that time.

"I was walking with my left hand against the cabinet against the closet. As far away from the entrance of the bathroom as I possibly could be.

"When I got to the point on the bottom right hand side of the photo I had my pistol in my right hand and I peered into the bathroom

"I then made my way to where the carpet and the tile meet on the left hand side. The surface changed and where I can walk more comfortably on the carpet I wasn't able to have the mobility on the tiled surfaces.

"I kept my hand behind me and my shoulder against the wall and I had my pistol raised to my eye, to the corner of the entrance of the bathroom.

"There was no light in the bathroom, I could see that the window was open, indeed.

"I was pretty much on my, my back against the wall with my hands up against the wall to use as balance I was leaning with my back slowly scuffling along the lhs wall. I wasn't sure if there were people, or intruders were in the toilet or if they were on a ladder that they would have used to gain access to the first floor or if they were round the corner at that point.

"I still had my firearm pointed n front of me at that point I peered around the corner to look where the shower which was in the bathroom in line with the toilet.

"I peered around this corner, which is in the bottom right hand side of the frame. At that point I saw that there was no one in the bathroom, the door was closed and the window was open. Once I saw that there wasn't anybody around the corner waiting to attack me, I retreated a little bit, maybe a step or two back, still with my hand against the wall, I slid my back and my shoulder to help me balance.

"At this point I started screaming again for Reeva to phone the police. I wasn't sure where to point the firearm, I had it pointed at the toilet but my eyes were going between the window and the toilet. I stood there for some time. Not sure how long. I wasn't sure if someone was going to come out of the toilet to attack me. I wasn't sure if someone was going to come up the ladder, and point a firearm in my house and start shooting. So I just stared and I kept on screaming.

"And then I heard a noise from inside the toilet. What I perceived to be someone coming out of the toilet and before I knew it, I'd fired four shots at the door. My ears were ringing, I couldn't hear anything. So I shouted, I kept on shouting for Reeva to phone the police. I was still scared to retreat because I wasn't sure if there was somebody on the ladder, I wasn't sure if there was somebody in the toilet.

"I don't know how long I stood there for. I shouted.

"At some point I decided to walk back to the room because I couldn't hear anything and my ears were ringing. I couldn't hear if there was a response or not. I didn't have my phone on me. I walked up with my hand on the left hand cupboards, with my pistol still raised. I kept on shouting for Reeva. I couldn't hear anything.

"At this point it hadn't occurred to me yet that it could be Reeva in the bathroom, I still thought that there would be intruders that were possibly in the toilet or on the ladder outside the house. I retreated back to the point where I got to the corner of the bed. My hand on the bed and I tried to lift myself up whilst talking to Reeva.

"Nobody, no one responded to me. At that point I lifted myself up onto the bed and I placed my hand back to the right hand side of the bed and I looked, I felt if Reeva was there're and I couldn't feel anything. At that point the first thing I thought was maybe that she got down onto the floor like I told her to, maybe she was just scared, so I said, I can't remember what I said, I was trying to talk out to her, I kept my firearm, the whole time I moved along the bed backwards, I kept my firearm at the passage, there was not much light coming out but I didn't even want to take my eyes off the, where the closet was.

"I then, I think it was at that point my lady that it first dawned upon me that it could be Reeva that was in the bathroom or in the toilet.

"I jumped out the side of the bed and I run my hand along the curtains to see that she wasn't hiding behind the curtain.

"I couldn't see much of the room but I could see where the passage was and I felt around and made my way back up the passage I still had my firearm in front of me.

"At this point I was mixed with emotions, I didn't know if, I didn't want to believe that it was could be Reeva inside the toilet. I was still scared that maybe someone was coming to attack me or us.

"I made my way back inside the bathroom and I walked up to the bathroom door, I tried to grab the handle and tried to push open the bathroom door and it was locked.

"I then took, for the first time I turned around with my back facing the bathroom. I ran back to the room and I opened the curtains, I shouted from the balcony, I opened the doors and I shouted from the balcony for help. I screamed 'help, help help', I screamed for somebody to help me.

"I put my prosthetic legs on. I ran as fast as I could back the bathroom. I ran into the door. It didn't move at all. I lent back and I tried to kick the door. Nothing happened.

"I was just panicked at this point, I didn't know what to make or what to do, I ran back to the bedroom were the cricket bat was between the cabinet and the door.

"I was screaming and shouting the whole time. Crying out. I was, I don't think I've ever screamed like that or cried like that. Or screamed or...I was crying out for the lord to help me. I was crying out for Reeva, I was screaming.

"I ran back to, I ran straight back to the bathroom door and I don't remember but I must have placed my firearm on the carpet in the bathroom.

"The light was on at that stage my lady. I don't remember switching it on, I remember it being on when I kicked the door.

"I ran straight up to the door and I started hitting it. I think I hit it three times. The first time, I remember hitting I hit the frame of the door and the shock in my hands, I swung again. And I hit a small piece open, and at that point all I wanted to do was look inside and see if it was Reeva.

"I then hit the door, I think I hit the door three times and there was a big plank, and I grabbed it with my hands and I threw it out into the bathroom. I lent over the middle partition I tried to open the door from the inside but there was no key in the door and I lent over the middle partition of the door and I saw the key was on the floor.

"At that point, all I wanted to do was just come into the toilet over the middle part of the door. I was lent over the partition to get in and I saw the key so I took it and I unlocked the door and I flung the door open and I threw it open, and I sat over Reeva and I cried. I don't know how long. I don't know how long I was there for. She wasn't breathing."