The South African blade runner, Oscar Pistorius, accused of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on Monday apologised to her family, saying he was trying to protect her.
In a trembling voice, an emotional Pistorius said he was “trying to protect” her and said he could not imagine her family’s pain.
While giving his testimony at the resumed murder trial, Mr Pistorius said he suffered “terrible nightmares” and often woke up smelling Ms Steenkamp’s blood.
Prosecutors say he killed her in February 2013 after an argument. He says he mistook her for an intruder.
The Paralympic athlete told Ms Steenkamp’s relatives that there “hasn’t been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven’t thought about your family”.
Trying To Protect Reeva
“I wake up every morning and you’re the first people I think of, the first people I pray for. I can’t imagine the pain and the sorrow and the emptiness that I’ve caused you and your family.
“I was simply trying to protect Reeva. I can promise that when she went to bed that night she felt loved.
“I’m scared to sleep, I have terrible nightmares, I can smell blood and wake up terrified,” he said.
He added that he never wanted to handle a gun again.
The athlete, 27, told the court about his difficult childhood after being born with parts of both legs missing and needing to wear prosthetic limbs.
After a recess, Mr Pistorius was asked whether he and his family had been exposed to criminal acts.
He said there had been many break-ins while he was growing up.
Mr Pistorius said he had been shot at on the highway and on another occasion was followed by a car into his gated community. He said he had his gun with him and the two men in the car had sped off.
Mr Pistorius said he was also attacked at a party in December 2012, and had to have stitches in the head.
As he detailed how important religion was to him, Mr Pistorius again became emotional and his counsel, Barry Roux, asked for an adjournment.
The prosecution said that as long as this was not a daily occurrence there would be no objection and the case will resume on Tuesday morning.
The BBC reports that the defence team has been trying to paint a picture of a man whose life has been peppered with tragedy, fear and vulnerability.