UK & World News

  • 15 February 2013, 19:30

Oscar Pistorius Breaks Down In Tears In Court

Olympic star Oscar Pistorius has broken down in tears as he appeared in court charged with murdering his girlfriend.

He stood before magistrate Desmond Nair with his head bowed as the charge was read out.

Prosecutors say they intend to prove Pistorius is guilty of premeditated murder of the top South African model Reeva Steenkamp.

Local news correspondent Barry Bateman described him as "sobbing uncontrollably" as he sat in the dock.

Pistorius' father Henke leaned forward and placed his hand on his son's back during the 40-minute hearing.

Prosecutors had asked to deal with the bail hearing as a section six offence, meaning the accused has to provide exceptional circumstances to be released on bail. The defence opposes this.

The case was postponed until Tuesday, and Pistorius will remain in custody until then.

A statement on behalf of his family and management said he denies the charge in the strongest terms.

The body of 29-year-old Miss Steenkamp was discovered at the athlete's property in the Silver Woods gated community in eastern Pretoria on Thursday morning.

She had been shot four times. A 9mm pistol was found at the scene.

Local media have reported that she was shot through a bathroom door.

Pistorius, 26, spent Thursday night in custody and was subject to blood-alcohol, DNA and other tests, as forensics experts continued to work at the crime scene at his home in an upmarket gated estate.

His lawyer Kenny Oldwage said his client was "very well, obviously emotional, but fine".

Police were called to Pistorius' home at around 4am on Thursday by neighbours who heard gunshots. He is the only suspect in the case.

Pistorius made history at the London Olympics last year when he became the first double-amputee track athlete to compete at any games.

He did not win a medal but did make the semi-finals of the 400 metres and the final of the 4x400 relay, propelling the world's best-known Paralympian to the level of an international track star.

Meanwhile a celebrity reality show featuring Miss Steenkamp will still be broadcast on South African television despite her death, the producers have said.

The pre-recorded show filmed in an exotic location in Jamaica features the blonde model and several local personalities competing for prize money.

Producers of Tropika Island of Treasure said they had decided not to shelve the show, which will premiere on Saturday, two days after she was shot dead.

Advertisement