Pistorius returns to court
Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius has arrived for his second court appearance in South Africa charged with the murder of his model girlfriend.
The gold-medal winner, known as the Blade Runner for his prosthetic legs, arrived by car at Pretoria Magistrates’ Court amid a media frenzy, Sky News TV footage showed.
The 26-year-old is expected to apply for bail, in a hearing that could reveal more details about the death of Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius was remanded to a Pretoria police station after his first appearance in court on Friday, when prosecutors said they intended to pursue a case of premeditated murder against the South African athlete, which means he could face a life sentence.
He was arrested after his model girlfriend was shot at his Pretoria home on Thursday.
The court appearance comes on the same day as her funeral, expected to be a private service, after her body was returned to her home town of Port Elizabeth.
Her mother June has described her “horrendous” torment at her daughter’s death.
Mrs Steenkamp told South African newspaper The Times: “She loved like no one else could love.
“She had so much of herself to give and now all of it is gone. Just like that, she is gone. In the blink of an eye and a single breath, the most beautiful person who ever lived is no longer here.
“All we have is this horrendous death to deal with ... to get to grips with. All we want are answers ... answers as to why this had to happen, why our beautiful daughter had to die like this.”
South African newspaper City Press reported that a cricket bat covered in blood had been recovered from Pistorius’s property.
His arrest triggered shock across the globe and prompted rumours that he might have mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder in what could have been a Valentine’s Day surprise gone wrong.
But police swiftly distanced themselves from that suggestion and said there had been previous incidents of a “domestic nature” at Pistorius’s house.
His family has vowed to fight the murder charge in the “strongest terms”.
Pistorius’s best friend claimed the sports star called him minutes after the shooting telling him “there has been a terrible accident”, according to the Sunday People.
Justin Divaris said: “It’s all very sad. Oscar called me at 3.55am saying that Reeva had been shot.
“It was very traumatic. By the time we got there it was already a crime scene and we weren’t allowed in the house.”
Pistorius’s father said he had “zero doubt” that Steenkamp’s death was a tragic accident and that his son may have acted “on instinct”.
Henke Pistorius said he believed the model was killed after being mistaken for an intruder at his son’s house.
He said: “When you are a sportsman, you act even more on instinct. It’s instinct – things happen and that’s what you do.”
Steenkamp’s father Barry paid tribute to her in a newspaper interview.
He told the Mail on Sunday the family was struggling to come to terms with the death, but said: “There is no hatred in our hearts. He must be going through things that we don’t know about.
“We ask the Lord every day to help us find a reason why this should happen to Reeva.
“She was the most beautiful, kind girl in the world.”
Pistorius’s management company has issued a statement announcing it had “no option” but to cancel all future races the double amputee was contracted to compete in.
Managing agent Peet Van Zyl said the athlete’s “key focus is defending himself against this serious charge”.
Pistorius, who won two gold medals and a silver at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, was contracted to compete in the Manchester City Games on May 25, following Qantas Tour races in Australia on March 9 and 16 and meetings in Rio de Janeiro (March 31) and Iowa (April 26).
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