PRETORIA - Star Paralympian Oscar Pistorius returned to the witness box at his murder trial on Tuesday, insisting he and girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp had a loving relationship and saw a future together before he shot her dead on Valentine's Day.
Pistorius sat before a packed courtroom wearing a dark grey suit describing how the couple met and gradually began to plan their future, a day after an emotional first day on the stand that saw him issue a tearful apology to the victim's family.
The Paralympic gold medallist is accused of premeditated murder over Steenkamp's murder in February 2013, but claims he shot her through a locked toilet door believing she was an intruder.
On Tuesday the athlete known as the "Blade Runner" described how he met the model at a track day car event.
"The first six days we knew each other we called each other every day," he said.
"I was very keen on Reeva," he said. "I think if anything I was more into her, than she was at times with me."
"We started really seeing a future with each other," he said.
Called as witness in his own defence, Pistorius has insisted he and the 29-year-old law graduate, model and aspiring actress had a loving relationship and sought to explain text messages in which Steenkamp said she was scared of him.
"I just think it was a bad hour in our relationship," he said, describing a fight at an engagement party.
Steenkamp had sent Pistorius a message saying: "I'm scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me and how you will act towards me."
Steenkamp's mother June attended Tuesday's hearing along with Steenkamp's friend Gina Myers, who was wearing tags that bore a black-and-white print of the model.
On Monday Pistorius had made a tearful apology to Steenkamp's family.
"I can promise that when she went to bed that night she felt loved," he said choking back tears, his voice faltering.
"There isn't a moment, or hasn't been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven't thought about your family."