Athlete Oscar Pistorius (pictured) began his testimony at North Gauteng High Court on Monday with a tearful apology to the Steenkamps, the family of his late-girlfriend, Reeva (pictured below).
SEE ALSO: First Suspected Ebola Case in Ghana
According to news reports,
Pistorius sobbed bitterly as he apologized to the Steenkamp family before he started his testimony:
“If I may just start by tendering my apology to apologize to [the] Steenkamp family. … There has not been a moment I haven’t thought of the family and the pain, the sorrow, and the emptiness that you guys felt, and I want to apologize. I want to let you know that when she went to bed that night she was loved.”
Pistorius added that he had just wanted to protect her.
“There hasn’t been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven’t thought about your family,” the runner said as he addressed the courtroom.
Reeva’s mother, June, appeared stone-faced as Pistorius delivered his apology.
“I wake up every morning and you’re the first people I think of, the first people I pray for…I was simply trying to protect Reeva,” he said.
A central part of his defense is that he erroneously shot Reeva because he thought she was an intruder in his bathroom.
Pistorius’ emotional apology caused a number of people in the courtroom to cry.
The Blade Runner also told the court that he was taking anti-depressants and had lost a lot of weight since the night Reeva died.
Pistorius also testified that he grew up in a loving family and his mother was a terrific parent, “Everything I learnt in life I learned from her – she passed away very unexpectedly,” Pistorius said.
Pistorius shot and killed Reeva on February 14th last year. He has since pleaded not guilty to murder, discharging a firearm in public, and contravening the Firearms Act.