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Emotional Pistorius takes stand in own defense at murder trial

Oscar Pistorius looks on during his trial at the high court in Pretoria April 7, 2014. REUTERS/Themba Hadebe/Pool
Oscar Pistorius looks on during his trial at the high court in Pretoria April 7, 2014. REUTERS/Themba Hadebe/Pool

PRETORIA (Reuters) - South African Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius took the witness stand in his own defense at his murder trial on Monday, saying the shooting of his girlfriend had left him sleepless, terrified and plagued by nightmares.

He also apologized to the mother of Reeva Steenkamp in the public gallery, saying he fired four shots through a toilet door in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year in the belief that he was defending her from an intruder.

"I was simply trying to protect Reeva," he told the court, his voice quavering with emotion.

(Reporting by Ed Cropley; Editing by Pascal Fletcher)

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