David Oakes from Braintree, Essex, who is accused of murdering his ex-partner Christine Chambers and her two-year-old daughter, Shania, has taken the stand at Chelmsford Crown Court.
Oakes, who pleads not guilty said he was absent from court because of the emotional distress of reliving what has happened and the physical discomfort of seeing pictures of his baby again.
He told the jury that he and Ms Chambers "rowed" like anyone else and went on to say:
When asked about his relationship with Ms Chambers' oldest daughter, who survived the shooting but her naming has been banned by the judge, he said: "We had a very good relationship. She was a very good child."
He was then asked whether she called him Dad and he replied: "She did. She called me daddy", and then broke down in tears.
Oakes spoke about the violent relationship between him and Ms Chambers.
He said he struck her about five times and then he described a number of incidents when she had been violent to him, including a time when she had stabbed him in the arm with a knife.
When asked about his relationship with Shania, he said: "I loved her very much" and then cried again.
About three weeks before the shooting happened, Oakes claims Ms Chambers asked him to get her a shotgun for her to sell.
He said he gave this to her on June 3 and on June 5, the day before the shooting, Ms Chambers asked Oakes to bring her cartridges for the gun.
He said she also asked him to bring her a number of equipments for the garden, including a drill, rope and a heavy hammar. Oakes said the heaviest thing he had was an axe.
He was told to go back to Ms Chambers' house about 10.30pm. He said before this, he played pool in a local pub with a friend.
He said: "I had a nice time in the pub and had a really good game of pool."
He ended by saying: