The prosecution's cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius continued today, as the South African athlete's murder trial entered its 19th day.

Paralympic and Olympic track star Pistorius - who stands accused of the pre-meditated murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp as well as three further charges relating to firing a firearm in public and illegal possession of ammunition, all of which he denies - was subject to an exceptionally tough grilling as prosecutor Gerrie Nel continued his lengthy line of questioning which first began yesterday.

"When I heard a noise, I didn't have time to think and I fired my weapon. It was an accident. If Reeva had come out or she had spoken to me I wouldn't have fired. The noise coming from the bathroom made me pull the trigger," Mr Pistorius - who claims he mistook Ms Steenkamp for an intruder - told the court.

Nel asserted that Mr Pistorius' version of events from the night in question were false, while the defendant suggested that certain items - including a duvet and a fan - must have been moved by police after the sorry event had taken place.

There was also more focus on messages sent to the sprinter by Ms Steenkamp, in which she told her boyfriend that she was sometimes scared of him.

Nel wanted to know why she would be fearful of Mr Pistorius, to which he replied: "I think she's scared of the feelings that she had for me, she says I'm scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me and how you will react to me".

"I never shouted or screamed at her. It hurt her feelings about the way I would react."

Mr Pistorius - who opened his testimony earlier this week with an apology to the parents of the deceased - was also quizzed on why he had not done so previously in person.

"I am terribly sorry that I took the life of their daughter. I didn't think they would want to see me," he said.

If found guilty of murder, Mr Pistrous could face life imprisonment. South Africa does not operate a jury system, so his fate will be decided by judge Thokozile Masipa who will consult with assessors.

The trial continues.

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Athletics
Oscar Pistorius