Oscar Pistorius was accused on Monday of deliberately breaking down into tearful histrionics to avoid difficult questions about the night he shot dead his girlfriend.
The Paralympic athlete's meltdowns have been a daily feature of his evidence from the witness box at the high-profile murder trial in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, often forcing the judge to halt proceedings.
On Monday alone he sobbed four times and vomited in court. "Mr Pistorius, you're not using your emotional state as an escape, are you?" state prosecutor Gerrie Nel demanded as the 27-year-old's voice became shrill and he again seemed on the verge of losing on his composure. "You're getting frustrated because your version is improbable and you're getting emotional."
A frustrated Nel repeatedly demanded to know why Pistorius was becoming emotional at tough moments during another day of punishing cross-examination. The sprinter replied that it is still traumatic for him to relive the night he lost his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in what he insists was a terrible accident.
Rubbing his eyes and looking exhausted, Pistorius recalled screaming at what he believed to be an intruder in his bathroom in the early hours of 14 February 2013. "Do you remember what you shouted?" Nel asked.
After clenching his jaw for several long seconds and putting his hand to his face, the athlete replied: "I do. I said: 'Get the fuck out of my house! Get the fuck out of my house!'" His voice cracked and he wept.
Asked why he was getting emotional, the athlete replied: "It was a traumatic evening for me."
But Nel claimed Pistorius was crying because he knew he was shouting at Steenkamp and not a supposed intruder, putting the state's case that she was preparing to leave after an argument when she was shot.
Pistorius denied this, saying: "I heard the noise and I did not have time to interpret it and fired out of fear."
Nel replied: "You know exactly, you fired at Reeva. These other versions cannot work: you fired at her, you did. Why are you getting emotional now?"
Pistorius wailed through tears in a choking, high-pitched crescendo: "I did not fire at Reeva!"
Judge Thokozile Masipa immediately called another adjournment and Pistorius stood bent over in the witness box, crying and retching. His psychologist placed her hands on his back to comfort him.
When the trial resumed, Pistorius's defence counsel Barry Roux asked the judge to intervene because the cross-examination was becoming repetitive. "The emotional response is the same. It's causing a delay." But Masipa rejected the appeal.
Nel accused Pistorius of crying not out of grief but because he was getting his testimony confused. "I'm going to argue that you got emotional because you got your defences mixed up."
Nel probed Pistorius mercilessly on Monday, exploring inconsistencies in his account in an attempt to show that his version of events was improbable and accusing him of tailoring evidence.
Pistorius has repeatedly claimed that he fired the shots accidentally, even though he feared there was an intruder behind the door. "I didn't have time to think," he said. "I heard this noise, and I thought it was somebody coming out to attack me so I fired my firearm."
Nel responded: "Your defence has now changed, sir, from putative self-defence to involuntary action. Is that what you're telling me?"
The Olympic runner said: "I don't understand the law, ma'am, what I can reply and tell the court is what I'm asked and I can reply as to what I thought."
Nel noted that Pistorius earlier said he warned Steenkamp to call police about an intruder in a whisper, contradicting later testimony that he spoke in a "low tone". The prosecutor also said blood spatter evidence indicated that the athlete's statement about the location of a duvet in the bedroom was false.
At the end of another gruelling day, the defence team looked downcast while Pistorius paused to sign a fan's autograph, writing: "Thank you for your love and kindness."
When Pistorius began his testimony last week he stunned the courtroom with a series of wrenching howls that forced an early adjournment. At the start of his cross-examination he was confronted with a photo of Steenkamp's bloodied head that caused another emotional collapse. Some following the trial on TV and Twitter accused him of play-acting.
At one point Nel put it to the accused: "Why are you emotional now? Now that the questions are difficult? Why are you emotional? What happened now?"
But on that occasion Masipa stepped in, saying: "Now, hold on, hold on! It's fine. He may be emotional. He has been emotional throughout."
Gerrie Nel is my personal hero right now. He completely destroyed Pistorius on the witness stand today.