'No Words Will Ever Suffice' - Oscar Pistorius Begins Evidence With Apology To Steenkamp Family 7 years ago

'No Words Will Ever Suffice' - Oscar Pistorius Begins Evidence With Apology To Steenkamp Family

Oscar Pistorius today took to the stand for the first time during his trial for Reeva Steenkamp's murder.

The Paralympian began his testimony with an emotional apology to his former girlfriend's family, telling them: “I can’t imagine the pain and the sorrow and the emptiness I have caused you and your family."

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"You're the first people I think of when I wake up. You're the first people I pray for. I was trying to protect Reeva. When she went to bed that night, she felt loved," he said.

“I’ve tried to put my pen to paper many times to write to you but no words would ever suffice.”

As the trial entered its sixth week, defense pathologist Professor Jan Botha told the court that it was most likely that all four shots were fired at Steenkamp in "quick succession" and she would not have had an opportunity to cry out for help. He added that the model would have gone into shock after sustaining her injuries and death would have followed "fairly quickly" after the fourth bullet made contact with her skull.

He also said that claims by the prosecution that Reeva had eaten less than three hours before she died were based on unreliable 'gastric emptying' evidence and the period between her last meal and the shooting could have been "considerably longer".

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However, during cross-examination, Prof. Botha admitted that he had "no certainty" over the order of the gunshots, saying "I am not a ballistician, i'm a pathologist" and in response to aggressive questioning from the prosecution's Gerrie Nel, added "I'm not here to win the case for either the prosecution or the defence" to which Nel replied "I beg to differ".

Formerly known as Blade Runner, Pistorius has been visibly upset for the duration of the trial and was again violently ill as evidence was read today. Pistorius was called to the stand following Botha's testimony and the athlete followed his apology by outlining his own experiences since Steenkamp's death, revealing that he is now on anti-depressants and sleeping pills. 

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“I’m scared to sleep. I have terrible nightmares about things that happened that night. I can smell blood. I wake up to being terrified.”

He also told the court of one occasion where he woke up so scared in the middle of the night that he crawled into a cupboard before calling his sister, who came round to sit with him.

“I wake up in a complete state of terror to the point that I would rather not sleep,” he added.

Pistorius maintains that he shot Steenkamp accidentally after mistaking her for an intruder on February 14 last year.