Oscar Pistorius reacts as he listens to evidence by a pathologist in court in Pretoria on Monday. Picture: Deaan Vivier

Pretoria - Murder accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius took the stand at noon in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

He started by tearfully apologising to Reeva Steenkamp's family.

“I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Mrs and Mr Steenkamp, to Reeva's family, to those of her who know her who are here today...

"I wake up every morning and you (her family) are the first people I think of, the first people I pray for...

"I was simply trying to protect Reeva. I can promise that when she went to bed that night she felt loved.”

Pistorius was expected to explain how he accidentally shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through the locked toilet door of his home on February 14 last year.

He has been charged with the murder of Steenkamp and contraventions of the Firearms Control Act. - Sapa and IOL