PRETORIA, South Africa: Oscar Pistorius returned to the witness stand on Wednesday, 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.
“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.
“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.
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.
Pistorius has been called as a witness in his own defense.
On Wednesday, 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 in the day, 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.
From Monday, defense lawyer Barry Roux had gently painted the portrait of a young man marked by a fatherless childhood, the early death of his mother, physical disability, and recurring crime.
Pistorius had begun his second day of testimony with a description of how he met the vivacious law graduate and how they quickly grew closer.
Roux also dealt with three other unrelated charges against the accused: firing a gun through a moving car’s sunroof, then again in a crowded restaurant, and also the possession of illegal ammunition.
Though these might not have come before court in different circumstances, it is possible prosecutors added them to the murder charge to attempt a character sketch of Pistorius.
He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.