Pistorius 'shot model through door'
Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius shot dead his model girlfriend through a closed bathroom door, a court heard today.
Pistorius, known as the Blade Runner for his prosthetic legs, appeared in a South African court for his second appearance over the death of Reeva Steenkamp.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the hearing that Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times inside his Pretoria home on Thursday.
Pistorius, 26, was formally charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend.
Mr Nel said the victim arrived at the house between 5pm and 6pm the night before she was killed at 3am. He said she was locked inside the small bathroom and was unarmed.
The prosecutor also said the athlete, who broke down in tears during the hearing, had not provided investigators with his own version of what happened.
Barry Roux, defending, said Ms Steenkamp was not murdered, and there were a number of cases where men have shot members of their own family through doors after mistaking them for burglars.
He also suggested that Pistorius broke the bathroom door down to help Ms Steenkamp after the shooting.
Prosecutors told the bail hearing that Pistorius had put on his prosthetic legs and walked 23ft (7m) to the bathroom before firing his gun.
After the shooting he informed his sister that he thought Ms Steenkamp, 29, was an intruder, the court heard.
Mr Nel said the killing was premeditated because the defendant planned to say that he thought he was shooting an intruder.
He added: “It was all part of the pre-planning. Why would a burglar lock himself inside the bathroom?”
But Mr Roux said: “We submit it is not even murder. There is no concession this is a murder.”
Pistorius, wearing a grey suit and tie, replied “Yes, sir” after the chief magistrate asked if he was well.
The court appearance comes on the same day as Ms Steenkamp’s 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 Ms 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.”
Ms 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 her 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 in which the double amputee was contracted to compete.
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).