UK & World News

  • 2 March 2014, 3:28

Pistorius' Family Says 'We Believe In Oscar'

Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius' family say they will stand by him during his trial for the Valentine's Day killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The 26-year-old will appear in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, on Monday accused of the murder of his model girlfriend on February 14 last year.

The double amputee, known as the Blade Runner, had been in a relationship with Ms Steenkamp, 29, for a few months.

He says they were deeply in love and he mistakenly shot her through a locked toilet cubicle believing she was an intruder.

The prosecution claims he deliberately killed her after a row.

The athlete's uncle Arnold Pistorius said in a statement: "We love Oscar, and believe in him, and will be standing by him throughout the coming trial."

He added: "With less than two days before the commencement of Oscar's criminal trial, the family as well as the legal team, will not be distracted by extraneous issues that have no bearing on, or relevance to, the legal process that must now be allowed to unfold.

"We will not be commenting on any media reports, nor will we be engaging the press on any issues that belong in court.

"The time for public commentary is over. The focus is now entirely on a very serious trial that is set to start this Monday."

Pistorius' trial - which is set to hear from more than 100 witnesses - will be partially televised, but his testimony will not be shown.

The mandatory sentence for someone convicted of premeditated murder in South Africa is life with a minimum of 25 years in prison.

The South African legal system does not have trials by jury, so a judge will ultimately pronounce Pistorius innocent or guilty.

Pistorius also faces charges of illegal possession of ammunition and two additional gun-related charges.

:: Sky News will have live coverage of the trial from Monday, with a special highlights programme at 9.30pm.

:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.