Giving evidence for the first time in his murder trial, Oscar Pistorius began by apologising to the family of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The South African athlete told them that he had been trying to protect the model.
He is accused of killing her in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 following an argument.
Addressing her mother June directly in a voice shaking with emotion, the Paralympian said that there “hasn’t been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven’t thought about your family”.
“I wake up every morning and you’re the first people I think of, the first people I pray for. I can’t imagine the pain and the sorrow and the emptiness that I’ve caused you and your family.
“I was simply trying to protect Reeva. I can promise that when she went to bed that night she felt loved. I’ve tried to put my words on paper many many times to write to you. But no words will ever suffice.”
He said he is taking anti-depressants and sleeping pills.
“I’m scared to sleep, I have terrible nightmares, I can smell blood and wake up terrified,” he said.
He added that he never wants to handle a gun again. At times Oscar was crying so much he was asked to speak up by Judge Mapisa and his own barrister Barry Roux.
Many people in the packed courtroom were unable to hold back tears, while the judge stopped taking notes during his statement instead listening intently.