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‘Reeva died while I was holding her’

Oscar Pistorius

Pretoria: Oscar Pistorius told a South African court on Wednesday that his girlfriend died in his arms, blood pouring from her body, as he tried to revive her after shooting her by mistake.

Facing questioning from prosecutor Gerrie Nel for the first time in his murder trial, Pistorius admitted killing Reeva Steenkamp at his home on February 14 last year but said “I made a mistake”.

The double amputee Olympic and Paralympic sprinter faces life in prison if convicted of the murder of Steenkamp.

His defence hinges on his contention that he thought he was firing at an intruder when he shot Steenkamp through a toilet door in his home. The prosecution aims to show he was a hot-headed character who loved to play with guns.

Pistorius, fighting back tears, told the court how he desperately tried to revive Steenkamp, who was hit by three of four pistol rounds he fired through the door.

“I checked to see if she was breathing and she wasn’t,” he said. “I could feel the blood was running down on me.

“The paramedics arrived. They asked for some space to work so I stood up,” he said, his voice quavering with emotion.

“Reeva, Reeva had already died while I was holding her, before the ambulance arrived, so I knew there was nothing they could do for her.”