South Africa’s superstar sprinter Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius accused of Murder
30-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead in the early hours of the morning at his home in Pretoria.
Oscar Pistorius formally chargedUpdated: 01:19, Saturday February 16, 2013
A sobbing Oscar Pistorius has been formally charged with the Valentine's Day murder of his model girlfriend.
The 26-year-old Paralympian gold medallist wept on Friday as Pretoria magistrate Desmond Nair announced a single charge of killing blonde covergirl Reeva Steenkamp.
The double amputee sat hunched as the court was told prosecutors would argue the murder was premeditated, a charge that could carry a life sentence.
Steenkamp, 29, who was due to appear in a celebrity reality show from this weekend, was shot four times at Pistorius's upmarket Pretoria home in the early hours of Thursday.
She was shot with his 9mm pistol, suffering wounds to the head and hand and died at the scene.
The Beeld newspaper, which first broke the dramatic news of his arrest, said on Friday the shots that killed Steenkamp were fired through a bathroom door, but there has been no police confirmation of this.
Pistorius had been expected to make an application for bail on Friday, but the hearing was postponed until Tuesday to allow the defence more time to prepare. He will remain in police custody until then.
Known as Blade Runner because of his carbon fibre prostheses, Pistorius has inspired millions by becoming the first double-amputee to compete alongside able-bodied athletes at the Olympics.
Journalists from around the world crammed in the courtroom to cover the case.
Police, who were called to Pistorius's home about 4am on Thursday, denied initial reports that Pistorius had shot Steenkamp, his girlfriend since late last year, after mistaking her for a burglar.
Steenkamp, once an FHM cover girl, was described as 'the kindest, sweetest human being; an angel on earth,' by Sarit Tomlins of her management agency.
Born in Cape Town, she grew up in Port Elizabeth where she graduated with a degree in law.
Police said there had been previous allegations of domestic disputes at Pistorius's home.
'There were always rumours attracted to Oscar Pistorius, but most of them I just put down to him being a celebrity,' said Kyle Wood, 25, a fellow resident of the gated community.
In 2009, Pistorius spent a night in jail after allegedly assaulting a 19-year-old woman at a party.
He has often spoken publicly about his fondness for guns. Last year a UK newspaper reported that he has a pistol, machine gun, cricket bat and baseball bat placed around his home for fear of burglars.
In November, Pistorius tweeted about arriving home and hearing the washing machine on 'and thinking it's an intruder to go into full combat recon mode into the pantry! waa'.
Pistorius is known as an adrenaline junkie, with a love of speed reflected in a passion for motorbikes.
Four years ago he crashed his boat in a river south of Johannesburg, breaking two ribs, an eye socket and his jaw.
Empty alcohol bottles were found in the boat, but he was not tested for alcohol.
Any problems off the track were eclipsed by his athletics success.
The Johannesburg-born athlete won gold in the 4x100m relay and the 400m individual at the Paralympic Games in London. He was triple gold medallist in the Beijing games in 2008.
He was named by Time Magazine last year as one of the world's 100 most influential people.
Pistorius had both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old after being born without lower leg bones.
Sponsors are now racing to distance themselves from the sprinter.
A South African pay television channel has canned a campaign featuring the runner.
There was no immediate comment from global sports giant Nike on its sponsorship of Pistorius, whom it featured in an advert showing the runner setting off from the starting blocks with the line 'I am the bullet in the chamber'.
A full house waiting for Oscar Pistorius to appear at Courtroom C at the Pretoria Magistrate Court
Oscar Pistorius Bail Hearing Delayed, Prosecutors To Pursue Premeditated Murder Charge
|Oscar Pistorius weeps in court in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, Feb 15, 2013.|