Oscar Pistorius when visibly moved when hearing testimony from Dr Johan Stipp about how he found Reeva Steenkamp dead
Oscar Pistorius is haunted by terrible nightmares about killing Reeva Steenkamp, he revealed in court Reuters

Oscar Pistorius is haunted by "terrible nightmares" about the night he gunned down his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the runner revealed in dramatic scenes at court.

The 27-year-old once hid in a cupboard because he was so scared and had to be rescued by his sister, he told a packed court room at his murder trial.

Fallen star Pistorius was speaking for the first time at his trial for killing 29-year-old Steenkamp.

He said he has been taking up to four medications for depression and sleep deprivation since killing her on Valentine's Day, last year.

Struggling to maintain his composure as he fought back tears, Pistorius said he hated sleeping and would try to stay awake instead.

He told the court: "I'm scared to sleep for several reasons. I have terrible nightmares about things that happened. I wake up and can smell blood and I awake to being terrified.

"If I hear a noise I wake up in a complete state of terror to the point I'd rather not sleep. For many weeks I didn't sleep. In April last year, I lost a significant amount of weight. I sought medical advice to start medication for sleeping."

He revealed that one night terror in particular was so bad that it caused him to flee in to a cupboard in his bedroom.

He told the court: "I woke up in a panic. I can phone my sister up in the middle of night, which I often do. I climbed in to the cupboard and phoned my sister (Aimee Pistorius) to sit by me, which she did."

Pistorius also revealed he can no longer stand being around firearms, in contrast to the impression painted of him as a gun enthusiast during the trial. He said a guard now keeps watch at his home.

He said: "I don't ever want to handle a firearm again so I have guard who stands outside my door every night."

Pistorius also talked about his charity work and humanitarian work helping people affected by landmines in Africa.

The Olympian and Paralympian denies murder and claims he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder inside his luxury home on the outskirts of Pretoria. The prosecution alleges he killed her following an argument between the couple.

The trial continues.