Athlete Oscar Pistorius has broken down and sobbed at his murder trial in South Africa, describing how he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead at his home.
The double amputee told the court he had fired at the toilet door, convinced an intruder was hiding inside.
He said he had heard a window sliding open in his bathroom in the middle of the night on Valentine’s Day last year and had decided to arm himself.
“That’s the moment that everything changed,” the South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter said, his voice tense with emotion. “I thought that there was a burglar that was gaining entry to my home.”
Grabbing a 9 mm pistol lying under the bed, he moved on his stumps down the passageway leading from the bedroom towards the bathroom and the would-be intruders, he testified.
According to his account, as he peered round the door of the bathroom, his right arm holding the pistol outstretched, his left steadying himself against the wall, he noticed the bathroom window was open, confirming his worst fears.
“I wasn’t sure where to point the firearm,” he said. “My eyes were going between the windows and the toilet. I stood for some time.”
“I just stayed where I was and kept on screaming. Then I heard a noise from inside the toilet that I perceived to be somebody coming out of the toilet. Before I knew it, I had fired four shots at the door.”
He said he continued to shout at Steenkamp to call the police, but slowly started to realise that she was not responding and might have been the one behind the door.
As he described to the court bashing in a door panel to gain access to the toilet, he broke down, sobbing uncontrollably in the witness stand, leading judge Thokozile Masipa to adjourn the hearing for the day.
Earlier Pistorius removed his prosthetic legs to show the court in Pretoria his mobility and height without them.
He says he was on his stumps when he opened fire.
Pistorius denies deliberately killing 29-year-old law graduate and model Steenkamp.
Giving evidence on Monday, he apologised to her family.
He could face a life sentence if convicted of premeditated murder.