The trial of the double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius heard crucial testimony as a prosecutor challenged him over why his girlfriend had failed to scream when he shot her four times through a toilet door.
One of South Africa's top attorneys, Gerrie Nel, said it was beyond belief that Reeva Steenkamp would have remained silent in the cubicle with an armed Pistorius shouting and screaming in the adjoining bathroom.
Under withering cross-examination from Nel - known in South Africa as "The Pitbull" - the 27-year-old track star was forced to concede he could not have heard whether she screamed or not because his ears were ringing from the sound of gunfire.
The prosecution alleges the 29-year-old model took refuge in the toilet during an angry row with the athlete, and he then shot her through the door.
Pistorius, who says he fired at what he thought was an intruder, has testified that Steenkamp did not cry out during the incident in the early hours of February 14, 2013.
People living nearby have testified to hearing a woman's terrified screams before and during a volley of shots.
"She's awake. She's in the toilet. You're shouting. You're screaming. You're three metres from her. She would have responded. She would not have been quiet, Mr Pistorius," Nel said.
"She didn't respond, my Lady," an apparently distressed Pistorius replied, addressing judge Thokozile Masipa.
"Did she scream at all whilst you shot her four times?" Nel continued.
"No, my Lady."
"Are you sure? Are you sure, Mr Pistorius, that Reeva did not scream after the first shot?" Nel continued. "Are you, Mr Pistorius?"
After a brief silence, Pistorius said: "My Lady, I wish she had let me know she was there."
"After you fired the first shot, did she scream?" Nel asked.
"No, my Lady."
"Are you sure? Would you have heard her?"
"I don't think I would have heard her."
"Exactly," Nel said.
"A gunshot went off. My ears were ringing," Pistorius said.
"How can you exclude the fact she was screaming if you couldn't hear?" Nel asked.
Pistorius then conceded:
Nels followed up with his central accusation - that the couple had an argument and Steenkamp fled to the toilet pursued by Pistorius, who shot her through the locked door.
Steenkamp was hit by three of the four 9 mm hollow-point rounds Pistorius fired.
A police ballistics expert has testified that the first round hit her hip and the final one her head, killing her almost instantly.