Pretoria, Feb 15: Olympic star Oscar Pistorius broke down in tears in the dock today as he was charged with the Valentine's Day murder of his model girlfriend, a charge he denied "in the strongest terms". The 26-year-old South African Paralympian gold medallist sobbed as Pretoria magistrate Desmond Nair announced a single charge of killing his lover, blonde covergirl Reeva Steenkamp.
The double amputee was an inspirational hero of last year's London Olympics, but on Friday he sat hunched and sobbing as the court heard that prosecutors will argue the murder was premeditated, meaning he could face a life sentence. He was to remain in custody after a bail hearing was delayed until Tuesday to allow the defence more time to prepare. In a statement issued by Pistorius's family and management company after the court appearance, the fallen star said "the alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms."
He also offered his condolences to those close to his former lover. "Our thoughts and prayers today should be for Reeva and her family -- regardless of the circumstances of this terrible, terrible tragedy." Steenkamp, 29, was shot four times at Pistorius's upmarket Pretoria home in the early hours on Thursday.
She had been due to appear in a celebrity reality show filmed in Jamaica from this weekend and producers said its broadcast would go ahead despite her death. "It has taken much deliberation to come to the decision to continue screening Tropika Island of Treasure 5 as planned," executive producer Samantha Moon said in a statement. "This week's episode will be dedicated to Reeva's memory."