Pistorius: Reeva 'died while I was holding her'

Pistorius: Reeva 'died while I was holding her'
Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius (center) arrives ahead of his trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

PRETORIA, South Africa - Oscar Pistorius returned to the witness stand 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.

"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.

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

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.

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