Athlete Oscar Pistorius has appeared in court in South Africa, charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The world famous amputee known as “Blade Runner” broke down in tears as the charges were read out.
Prosecutors told the court they intend to argue the international sports star committed premeditated murder in shooting his girlfriend dead at his home.
The hearing was delayed for two hours as his defence lawyers objected to the scrum of local and international reporters packed into the courtroom.
Early reports suggested Pistorius may have mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder, but police said neighbours had heard noises before the shots and they had been called to previous domestic incidents at the house.
Local media reports say he shot her four times through a bathroom door. A 9mm pistol was recovered from the athlete’s house in an affluent suburb of the South African capital.
Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model Pistorius had been seeing since November, had been due to give a talk on violence against women at a Johannesburg school this week.
The athlete will remain in custody before the next hearing on Tuesday. Police have said they will oppose bail.
Pistorius had united the rainbow nation behind him and won global recognition for his athletic achievements. The double amputee was hailed as a hero who triumphed over adversity to compete with able-bodied athletes at the 2012 London Olympics while also winning two gold medals in the Paralympics.
His fame brought in sponsorship deals thought to be worth as much as three million euros. Sportswear giant Nike have said they will not make any decisions until the police investigation is completed.