Fallen icon Oscar Pistorius broke down in court as he gave his first account of the night he shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius's lawyer read out the statement as part of the defendant's bail application, but Judge Desmond Nair ordered the affidavit to be halted because the Paralympic champion was so tearful.

The 26-year-old, who is accused of pre-meditated murder, told the court: "Reeva had brought me a present for Valentine's Day. We were deeply in love."

He insisted he had no intention of shooting his 29-year-old girlfriend, who was blasted three times through a locked bathroom door.

He claimed that on the night of her death he was full of a "sense of terror" after hearing a noise from the bathroom. "I'm acutely aware of violent criminals breaking in. I've got death threats," he added.

"I was scared and didn't switch on the light. I got my gun and moved towards the bathroom. I screamed at the intruder.

"I thought Reeva was in bed. I screamed out that the person must get out of the house and Reeva must call the police."

Pistorius said he felt "vulnerable" because he did not have his prosthetic legs on at the time.

The defendant told the court that, after firing the shots and then breaking into the bathroom, he found Reeva "slumped over in the toilet. She was still alive. I called paramedics. I tried to take her to hospital.

"I tried to save Reeva. But she died in my arms. I can't stand how much hurt I've caused.

"I trust the South African legal system and the facts will show that I did not murder Reeva."

Pistorius said he realised with hindsight that Steenkamp had gone to the bathroom after he had gone to get a fan and shut the balcony door.

Pistorius was in court to convince Judge Nair to grant him bail, while the murder investigation continues. His affidavit was read under oath and can be used at the trial when it commences.

Pistorius said: "My continued incarceration will be of no benefit to the state. Release would not disturb the public order. I don't know of any witnesses in this matter, and I won't interfere with any witnesses."

Pistorius said he was willing to surrender his passport if it was a condition of bail. All races in his busy international schedule have already been cancelled.

Oscar Pistorius Live: Olympic Hero 'Shot Reva Steenkamp Through Bathroom Door After She Locked Herself in'
Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp