updated 03/06/2014 AT 12:40 PM ET
•originally published 03/06/2014 AT 1:00 PM ET
As the girlfriend he shot lay dead or dying in his home, a weeping, praying Oscar Pistorius knelt at her side and struggled in vain to help her breathe by holding two fingers in her clenched mouth, a witness testified Thursday.
“Oscar was crying all the time,” radiologist Johan Stipp said at the double-amputee athlete’s murder trial in South Africa. “He was praying to God, ‘Please let her live.’”
The testimony in a Pretoria court was the first detailed, public description of the immediate aftermath of the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, by the Olympian in the predawn hours of Feb. 14 – Valentine’s Day – last year.
At his bail hearing last year, Pistorius said in a statement read by lawyer Barry Roux that, after he realized he had shot Steenkamp, he pulled on his prosthetic legs and tried to kick down the toilet door before finally giving up and bashing it in with a cricket bat. Inside, he said he found Steenkamp, slumped over but still alive. He said he lifted her bloodied body and carried her downstairs to seek medical help.
“It was obvious that she was mortally wounded,” Stipp said as he described what he saw at Pistorius’ villa. “At the bottom of the stairs … there was a lady lying on her back on the floor.”
As a radiologist, Stipp is a medical doctor with years of study, and he said he used his expertise to try to save the shot woman.
“I tried to assist her.” Stipp said. “I tried to open an airway.”
“She had no pulse in the neck, she had no peripheral pulse. She had no breathing movements that she made,” Stipp said.