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Oscar Pistorius says Reeva Steenkamp died in his arms

Murder-accused Paralympian explains to court how he tried in vain to stem slain girlfriend's blood loss to save her life

Pretoria: Oscar Pistorius returned to the witness stand yesterday, giving horrifying testimony about his vain attempts to stem girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp's blood loss and save her life using plastic bags and utility tape.

Oscar Pistorius in North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, SA yesterday
Oscar Pistorius in North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, SA yesterday 

"I was really trying to stop the bleeding, I was really trying to help Reeva breathe," said Pistorius, still struggling to retain his composure on a third day of testimony.

Four gunshots
"I was trying to hold Reeva's head with my hand to put pressure on it," he said, outlining the brutal and ultimately fatal results of gunshots to the hip, arm, hand and head.

"Reeva had already died while I was holding her," he said. "There was nothing more I could do for her."

Pistorius returned to the stand after breaking down uncontrollably on Tuesday while testifying that he fired four shots at Steenkamp through a toilet door, and then found her lifeless body.

Pistorius claims he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder, but has been charged with her murder on Valentine's Day last year. "I was overcome with fear," the athlete had testified in a trembling voice.

"Before I knew it, I'd fired four shots at the door," he said, describing his actions after he thought an intruder had made a noise in the bathroom in the dead of night.

Late Reeva Steenkamp's mother Jane (left) is comforted by a relative after her dead daughter's picture was shown on screen in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa yesterday. Pics/AFP
Late Reeva Steenkamp's mother Jane (left) is comforted by a relative after her dead daughter's picture was shown on screen in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa yesterday. Pics/AFP 

Pistorius has been called as a witness in his own defence.

First-hand account
Yesterday he continued with a first-hand account of what happened after emergency responders arrived.

It is possible prosecutor Gerrie Nel will start cross-examination later today, in what would likely be a tough experience for the 27-year-old.

Pistorius faces a life sentence if found guilty of murdering 29-year-old Steenkamp. The Olympian's initial evidence focused on countering the prosecution's portrayal of him as reckless and obsessed with fast cars and guns.

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