Oscar Pistorius to mount vigorous defence
Oscar Pistorius is preparing to mount a vigorous defence against his murder charge as he awaits his bail hearing in South Africa next Tuesday.
Pistorius was remanded to a Pretoria police station after a hearing yesterday, at which prosecutors said they intended to pursue a case of premeditated murder against the athlete.
The 26-year-old’s girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead at his luxury home on the Silver Lakes Golf Estate on Thursday.
The family of Pistorius issued a statement in which they vowed to fight the charge in the “strongest terms”, but stressed their first thoughts were with family and friends of Steenkamp.
Their statement read: “Firstly, and most importantly, all our thoughts today must be with the family and friends of Reeva Steenkamp.
“Oscar Pistorius has appeared in court here in Pretoria this morning formally charged with the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms.
“These are now live and active legal proceedings which must be allowed to take their course through the process of proper investigation by the police, evidence-gathering and through the local South African judicial system.”
Pistorius, who won two gold medals and a silver at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, was met by a media frenzy as he arrived at the packed court house dressed in a sober grey suit and blue tie.
Earlier he had attempted to obscure his identity, covering his face with a jacket and a note pad as he was driven into the precincts.
The track superstar was supported by his father Henke, brother Carl and sister Aimee in court.
The hearing came after a two-hour delay while the athlete’s lawyers objected to the scrum of local and international reporters who turned out to witness his appearance.
His arrest on Thursday triggered shock across the globe and prompted rumours that he may 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’ property.
South Africa’s M-Net cable TV channel pulled adverts featuring the star immediately after his arrest.
Sports apparel group Nike, along with most of his sponsors, said it would not make any decisions until the police investigation was completed.
His sponsorship deals - with firms including BT, sunglasses manufacturer Oakley and French designer Thierry Mugler - are thought to be worth as much as £1.3million a year.
Great Britain 400 metre runner Martyn Rooney was left stunned by the news of the arrest of his friend and training partner.
Rooney was with Pistorius at a training camp in South Africa as recently as last week, and has been too upset to comment directly on the situation.
In a statement released through British Athletics, Rooney said: “My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those involved. I will not be making any further comment on the events of this week and ask that this decision is respected.”
Double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah added in the Daily Mirror: “It’s a sad situation. We don’t want to see our sport [on the front pages] like that.
“I know him to say hello to and for what he’s achieved as an athlete you’ve got to admire that. But I don’t know what’s going on.”
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