South African sporting hero Oscar Pistorius broke down in court today as he was accused of shooting his model girlfriend three times through a locked bathroom door in what prosecutors said was a “premeditated” Valentine’s Day murder.
The double-amputee Olympian and Paralympian ‘Blade Runner’ is seeking bail at the hearing which is expected to reveal more about what happened the night his covergirl law graduate lover Reeva Steenkamp was killed.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the Pretoria magistrate’s court that Pistorius armed himself, put on his prosthesis, walked seven metres and fired three shots through a locked bathroom door at Steenkamp, saying this showed premeditation on the part of the star athlete.
The 26-year-old defendant, making his second court appearance over the killing, appeared in the dock in a black suit, blue shirt and grey tie and stared straight ahead anxiously, sometimes mumbling under his breath.
Steenkamp, 29, who was shot four times in the early hours of Thursday by a 9mm pistol owned by the sprinter, is due to be laid to rest at a private ceremony in her hometown of Port Elizabeth later Tuesday.
Pistorius’s family has insisted that the evidence will refute “any possibility of a premeditated murder or indeed any murder at all“.
Defence lawyers are expected to argue that there are “exceptional circumstances” for Pistorius to be freed pending trial.
As a result, more details will likely emerge of what happened during the Valentine’s Day shooting at Pistorius’s upmarket home in a gated estate in Pretoria.
The state has said it would oppose bail.
Both sides have called in heavyweight lawyers, setting the scene for a massive legal showdown.