Oscar Pistorius was told he will face trial for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in March as he appeared in court today – the same day that would have been her 30th birthday.
Before the hearing began he stood holding hands with sister Aimee and brother Carl as the three siblings prayed silently amid the commotion of the courtroom.

Friends of Ms Steenkamp were also in court.

When asked by Magistrate Desmond Nair if he was well, he replied quietly: ‘Under the circumstances, your honour.’

But as proceedings were postponed, the BBC’s Andrew Harding claimed to have shaken his hand and asked how he was, to which Pistorius apparently shook his head and mouthed: ‘Not good.’

The six-time Paralympic sprint champion was initially charged with premeditated murder for bail purposes while police investigated the circumstances of the shooting before a finalised indictment was served on the double amputee today.

 

The prosecution will retain a main charge of premeditated murder. If convicted, Pistorius faces a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years in prison.

DID HE OR DIDN’T HE? WHAT THE PROSECUTION CLAIM HAPPENED

 
South African Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius dries a teaR

The indictment accuses Pistorius of murder, and unlawful possession of ammunition, contrary to Section 90 of the Firearms Control Act.

In a summary, prosecutors allege Pistorius shot Ms Steenkamp, whose cause of death was given as multiple gunshot wounds, four times through the locked bathroom door but said, even if he thought she was an intruder, an ‘error in persona’ did not affect the fact he intended to kill someone.

The summary alleges that Ms Steenkamp locked herself in the toilet cubicle next to the main bedroom at Pistorius’ house in the early hours of February 14.

It claims the athlete armed himself with his 9mm pistol and fired four shots through the locked door. The cause of his girlfriend’s death, which happened just after 3am, is given as ‘multiple gunshot wounds’.

Some state witnesses heard a woman scream, followed by ‘moments of silence, then heard gunshots and then more screaming’, the summary said.

It added: ‘The accused said to witnesses on the scene, that he thought she was an intruder.

‘Even then, the accused shot with the direct intention to kill a person. An error in persona will not affect the intention to kill a human being.’

Some 107 witnesses are listed by the state, including Ms Steenkamp’s close friends Desiree, Gina and Kim Myers, as well as Pistorius’ sister Aimee and his uncle Arnold.

Additional charged are also ‘possible’, prosecutors told The Associated Press, but declined to comment about the charges before today’s hearing.  

It has been reported that the Paralympian could face extra charges of allegedly discharging a firearm recklessly in two other incidents.

Papers presented at the court today are expected to include a witness list and detail some of the evidence police have gathered in the six months since the death of Ms Steenkamp.

Pistorius is currently on bail after a judge changed his conditions in March, allowing him to travel abroad providing he hand over his travel plans.

The ‘Blade Runner’, who was recently spotted kayaking with friends in South Africa, has resumed a ‘low-key track routine’, according to his family.

In a statement on his website in June, they said: ‘Oscar is not contemplating a formal return to athletics and his training is not aimed at preparing for competition.

‘His focus at this time remains entirely on the court case. His family, and those close to him, have encouraged him to spend a few hours a week on the track to assist him in finding the necessary mental and emotional equilibrium to process his trauma and prepare for the trial.’

The athlete was ‘overcome with emotion’ when he pulled on his carbon fibre running blades for his first track training since Ms Steenkamp’s death, his agent Peet van Zyl said, adding that Pistorius described his return to the track as ‘bittersweet’.

Ms Steenkamp’s parents previously said they are still searching for answers.

In a television interview in June, June Steenkamp said: ‘There is only one person who knows what happened’ on the night her daughter was killed.

Meanwhile, Ms Steenkamp’s uncle has said he has already forgiven Oscar Pistorius for killing her.

Mike Steenkamp said the family have coped with her death by concentrating on her life rather than how she died.haos: The double amputee was met by a scrum of photographers as he arrived at Pretoria Magistrates’ Court

 

 
Facing jail: The prosecution will retain a main charge of premeditated murder. If convicted, Pistorius faces a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years in prison

Facing jail: The prosecution will retain a main charge of premeditated murder. If convicted, Pistorius faces a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years in prison

In an interview on ITV’s Daybreak, Mr Steenkamp said: ‘I think from the beginning and onset that we decided that we could never be sidetracked from Reeva’s life, and I think that’s helped us tremendously.

 

‘I just think of Reeva’s life. How happy she was, and what she actually meant to the family. Not only to her own parents, but to her cousins and myself and my wife. She was an exceptional person.’
He said he has forgiven Pistorius, who is due to appears at Pretoria Magistrates’ Court today, for killing his niece because of his firm believe in God.

He added that the family have not faced the Paralympic champion in court but would want to know the outcome of the case.

 
 
South Africa's Oscar Pistorius runs the final leg of the men's 4x400m relay final during the London 2012 Olympic Games
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has reportedly shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria
 

Global spotlight: Prosecutors, who allege the Paralympian killed Ms Steenkamp (right) after an argument, submitted a list of more than 100 witnesses for a trial that will be followed around the world

Last hours: In this frame grab from CCTV footage shows Reeva Steenkamp entering the secured access to Pistorius' home hours before she died

Last hours: In this frame grab from CCTV footage shows Reeva Steenkamp entering the secured access to Pistorius’ home hours before she died

‘We haven’t attended anything and we haven’t actually applied our minds to the court case or Oscar’s side,’ he said.

‘I know my brother and his wife would like to know at the end of the day why, quite rightly so. And I think that will come out.’

Pistorius’s friend Mike Kendrick also appeared on the programme and said his loved ones were worried about his mental state.

‘He’s not doing well,’ he said.

 

Wiping tears from his eyes, a visibly emotional Pistorius stood silently in the dock as he was formally indicted for premeditated murder at Pretoria Magistrates’ Court.

The 26-year-old Paralympian, from South Africa, is accused of shooting Ms Steenkamp to death at their home on Valentine’s night, but claims he opened fire on the 29-year-old after mistaking her for an intruder.

And after a hush finally descended on the packed courtroom, the judge set his trial to run from March 3 to March 20 next year at North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

 
Emotional: A visibly emotional Pistorius stood silently in the dock as he was formally indicted for premeditated murder at Pretoria Magistrates' Court

Emotional: A visibly emotional Pistorius stood silently in the dock as he was formally indicted for premeditated murder at Pretoria Magistrates’ Court

 
 
 
 
 
Emotional: A visibly emotional Pistorius stood silently in the dock as he was formally indicted for premeditated murder at Pretoria Magistrates' Court
Reeva Steenkamp, Fashion Model.
 

Birthday: The 26-year-old Paralympian wiped tears from his eyes and blew his nose as he was served the indictment on the day Ms Steenkamp (right) would have turned 30

 
 
 
Family prayer: Before the hearing began he stood holding hands with sister Aimee and brother Carl as the three siblings prayed silently amid the commotion of the courtroom

Family prayer: Before the hearing began he stood holding hands with sister Aimee and brother Carl as the three siblings prayed silently amid the commotion of the courtroom

Silent moment: Pistorius stands next to his sister Aimee and his brother Carl in silence as the courtroom commotion rages on around them

Silent moment: Pistorius stands next to his sister Aimee and his brother Carl in silence as the courtroom commotion rages on around them

According to BBC journalist Andrew Harding, who was tweeting from the courtroom and claimed to have read the indictment, the prosecution will present 107 witnesses ‘including some who allege they heard loud “argument” before shooting’.

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