Pistorius trial: Defence forms its argument

Religion and fear of crime formed part of the defence’s quest to prove Oscar Pistorius's innocence.

Advocate Barry Roux arrives at the High Court in Pretoria on 7 April 2014. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

PRETORIA - Religion, a fear of crime and an apology have formed the main part in the defence's quest so far to prove that Oscar Pistorius didn't intentionally kill his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He said meeting Steenkamp was a blessing because he always wanted a Christian partner, adding that he turned to his faith when he was unable to cope with killing her.

The athlete took the stand in his own defence yesterday after his private pathologist testified.

Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend on Valentine's Day a year ago and while he said he shot her by accident, the state's argument is that it was premeditated murder.

The Olympian and Paralympian said his faith helped him through difficult times.

"The thing that got me through last year, I mean there have been times when I was struggling, so my God is a God of refuge."

He said meeting Steenkamp was a blessing.

"I've always wanted to have a Christian partner and she was a strong Christian."

He added that his mother's death tested his faith.

"But I always knew the Lord was part of my life."

The athlete started his testimony by apologising to Steenkamp's mother, June.

ANOTHER EMOTIONAL TESTIMONY EXPECTED

Pistorius is expected to have another emotional day in court as he recounts the events of last Valentine's Day which he said he relives every day.

He became extremely emotional during the first day of his testimony when describing his relationship with Steenkamp, and alluded to his sense of vulnerability.

The defence is presenting its case this week and started off by calling an independent pathologist, but his testimony was overshadowed by the athlete stepping into the witness box for the first time.

The athlete told the court he was "bowled" over by Steenkamp, and his voice trembled as he explained how he intended buying a property in Johannesburg so that they could live together.

Today, advocate Barry Roux is expected to lead evidence about that fateful day, giving Pistorius the opportunity to explain his version of events.

DEFENCE BEGINS ITS CASE

The Olympic and Paralympic athlete said he is too scared to go to sleep at night and said when he does, he often wakes up terrified, smelling blood.

He listed the medication he has been prescribed to help him cope with the trauma.

Pistorius also told the court he never wants to handle a firearm again.

He said he called on his sister Aimee to help him at night when he was unable to calm down.

Get all the latest on the EWN Pistorius portal.

Video: Pistorius takes the stand.