Throughout the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, the sprinter’s neighbors and friends, as well as expert witnesses, have testified about death of Reeva Steenkamp. Now, Pistorius has finally spoken, in court, about what happened on Valentine’s Day 2013.
The Olympian took the stand on Monday, giving his version of the events that took place a little over a year ago. Immediately after killing his girlfriend, Pistorius told authorities that he thought he shot an intruder through the bathroom door. He’s stuck to his story, claiming he was trying to protect Steenkamp, who he thought was asleep in bed.
During the trial, Pistorius has appeared distraught over the loss of his girlfriend, even vomiting when the details of the model’s death were discussed. He echoed those same sentiments on the stand.
"I'm scared to sleep. I have terrible nightmares about things that happened that night," Pistorius said.
"I can smell blood. I wake up to being terrified."
Pistorius spoke, as Steenkamp’s mother looked on, claiming he remains haunted by the death of his girlfriend. He described losing sleep, since the incident occurred, and being scared throughout the night.
"I wake up in a complete state of terror to the point that I would rather not sleep," Pistorius continued.
"There have been times when I've just been struggling a lot."
The testimony from the double-amputee comes on the 17th day of the trial. In addition to his recollection of the shooting and how he’s handled the aftermath, Pistorius discussed his childhood. According to the sprinter, having to deal with intruders was not uncommon when he was younger.
"When we were growing up, we were exposed to crime - house break-ins, family members being assaulted and hijacked," he said. "Many members of my family have been victims of house break-ins and violent crime."
Prosecutors have disputed Pistorius’s account, contesting that he intentionally shot his girlfriend, with whom he was having a fight. Neighbors have testified to hearing Steenkamp scream before she killed. Pistorius has been painted as trigger-happy, firing on his defenseless girlfriend.