PRETORIA, South Africa -- Oscar Pistorius took the stand at his murder trial on Monday and apologized for the "pain, sorrow and emptiness" he had caused slain girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp's family.
"There hasn't been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven't thought about your family," the double-amputee Olympian said.
Pistorius told the High Court in Pretoria that he was "simply trying to protect Reeva" when he fatally shot her on Valentine's Day last year.
The athlete added that he had been on prescription drugs since killing Steenkamp because he struggled to sleep. "I have terrible nightmares about things that happened that night," he said. "I wake up and I can smell blood ... I wake up in a complete state of terror."
Pistorius, 27, is accused of premeditated murder after fatally shooting the model and law graduate through a bathroom door of his luxury home. The sprinter maintains he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.
The so-called "Blade Runner" chose not to appear before cameras in court but audio of his testimony was broadcast.
The trial continues.
- Rohit Kachroo, Aliza Nadi and Jason Cumming
First published April 7 2014, 3:12 AM