Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius arrives ahead of his third day at the witness stand in the court in Pretoria on April 9, 2014.
© Siphiwe Sibeko—Reuters
April 9, 2014 5:53 AM EDT

Oscar Pistorius recounted how his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, 29, died in his arms with her blood soaking him when he took the witness stand for the third day Wednesday.

The South African athlete, who is on trial accused of murdering his model girlfriend, described how he shot her through the bathroom door of his house on Valentine’s Day last year, saying he mistook her for an intruder.

On Tuesday the judge adjourned the court when Pistorius became very emotional, weeping and wailing as he described the events leading up to the realization that he had killed his girlfriend.

Pistorius, who will face a 25-year prison sentence if convicted, was more composed Wednesday, but still obviously distressed. His voice was quivering as he recounted the moment he entered the bathroom after breaking the locked door with a cricket bat and saw his girlfriend.

“I checked to see if she was breathing and she wasn’t,” Pistorius said in his televised testimony, which is being followed by viewers worldwide.

He said that he pulled her from the bathroom to the bedroom and put her down “softly on the carpet.”

“I felt helpless. I had my fingers in her mouth to help her breathe,” he said. “I could feel her blood was running down on me.”

He then went back into the bedroom to find his phone and called a neighbor to ask for help, and then he called his gated community’s security office and emergency services. Neighbors, paramedics and police came to the home, but Pistorius said he knew it was too late.

“Reeva had already died while I was holding her, before the ambulance arrived, so I knew that there was nothing that they could do for her.”

The trial continues.

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