South African Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius today gave a horrifying account of the night he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp claiming he mistook her for a burglar when he woke up in the middle of the night.
In a statement read out to Pretoria magistrates court, Oscar Pistorius said he had been on the balcony of his house when he heard noises from the bathroom.
Believing Reeva Steenkamp was asleep in bed, he grabbed his gun and shouted a warning before firing four shots through the door, a judge was told.
It was only then, Oscar Pistorius claims that he realized Reeva Steenkamp was not in bed.
“I kicked the door open,” he said.
“I tried to help her but she died in my arms.”
Oscar Pistorius was sent back to his cells to spend a sixth night in jail until the bail hearing begins again tomorrow morning.
He is now facing the possibility of months in jail after a magistrate ruled that he faces a charge of premeditated murder, making bail unlikely.
Magistrate Desmond Nairmade the ruling after saying he could not exclude the possibility of planning in the death.
The court appearance comes on the same day as Reeva Steenkamp’s funeral, a private service, after her body was returned to her home town of Port Elizabeth.
Today Oscar Pistorius sobbed uncontrollably and at one point the magistrate stopped the proceedings to allow him to regain his composure and have an energy drink.
The sportsman told the court he was “deeply in love” with Reeva Steenkamp and that she had bought him a Valentine’s Day present, but told him not to open it until the following day.
Oscar Pistorius, 26, made the following statement in an affidavit read out by his lawyer.
“I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premeditated murder because I had no intention to kill. I had no intention to kill my girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
“I have been informed I have been accused of murder – I deny the accusation. Nothing can be further from the truth that I planned the murder of my girlfriend.
“On February 13 Reeva would have gone out with her friends, me with mine. She wanted to stay at home.
“I was watching TV. My legs were off. She was doing yoga. At the end of the evening we got into bed.
“I’m acutely aware of people gaining entries to homes to commit crime, I’ve received death threats. I sleep with my 9mm under my bed. I woke up to close the sliding door and heard a noise in the bathroom.
“I was scared and didn’t switch on the light. I got my gun and moved towards the bathroom. I screamed at the intruder because I did not have my legs on I felt vulnerable. I fired shots through the bathroom door and told Reeva to call police.
“I walked back to the bed and realized Reeva was not in bed. Its then it dawned on me it could be her in there.
“I kicked the door open. Called paramedics and complex security. I tried to carry her downstairs for help. I tried to help her but she died in my arms.
“With the benefit of hindsight I realize that Reeva went to the bathroom when I went to close the balcony door.”
When asked by the Magistrate if he agrees with the affidavit as it was read out a trembling Oscar Pistorius answered: “Yes, sir – yes your worship.”
Today the state prosecution admitted they needed to do more work after the defence statement.
Friends of Oscar Pistorius gave compelling testimony to help his case during which his family hugged for strength.
His friend Alex Pilakoutas painted a picture of a loving relationship between the couple saying “they never even argued” and his cousin said the pair were planning to go house-hunting together.
Reeva Steenkamp’s best friend Samantha described Oscar Pistorius as “humble” and the “epitome of a true gentleman”.
She said: “Reeva said if Oscar asked her to marry him, she would probably say yes.”
As this line was read out to the court, Oscar Pistorius bowed his head.
Earlier in the hearing Oscar Pistorius slumped forward with his head in his hands as the prosecutor accused him of murdering an “unarmed and innocent woman”.
Both sides gave graphic descriptions of the events of the evening.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court that Oscar Pistorius shot the 29-year-old model four times through the bathroom door of his home.
Gerrie Nel painted a picture of premeditated killing – a crime that carries a life sentence in South Africa.
He told the court that Reeva Steenkamp went into the bathroom after the couple had been arguing.
“The applicant armed himself, attached his prosthesis, walked seven metres to the bathroom and shot the deceased while she was in the toilet. He shot four times…There’s no possible explanation to support his report that he thought it was a burglar,” the prosecutor said.
“If I arm myself, walk a distance and murder a person, that is premeditated,” he said.
“The door is closed. There is no doubt. I walk seven metres and I kill.”
“The motive is <<I want to kill>>. That’s it,” he added.
“This deceased was in a 1.4 by 1.14 metre little room. She could go nowhere.”
Gerrie Nel said the killing was premeditated because Oscar Pistorius had planned to say that he thought he was shooting an intruder.
“It was all part of the preplanning. Why would a burglar lock himself inside the bathroom?” Gerrie Nel said.
“She locked that door for a purpose. We’ll get to that purpose,” he said.
“That is where she was when those shots were fired. She couldn’t go anywhere. It must have been horrific.”