Oscar Pistorius, who faces murder charges over the fatal shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has been released on bail after a lengthy hearing.
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius denies murder, saying he shot Reeva Steenkamp thinking she was an intruder at his home.
The prosecution had argued that bail should be refused because there was a risk Oscar Pistorius, 26, would abscond.
Magistrate Desmond Nair said the state had not made a case that he would flee, or that the sprinter had a violent character.
Desmond Nair said that Oscar Pistorius had “reached out to meet the state’s case” at an early stage.
Oscar Pistorius, who faces murder charges over the fatal shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has been released on bail after a lengthy hearing
The magistrate took almost two hours to deliver his judgement.
Desmond Nair criticized the testimony of lead detective Hilton Botha, saying he had not followed up important leads and had changed his testimony.
But he also said he had difficulty understanding why Oscar Pistorius had opened fire in the way he did.
Reeva Steenkamp, 29, was a model and law graduate with a burgeoning television career.
South African prosecutors have said that a witness heard “non-stop shouting” coming from Oscar Pistorius’ mansion before shots were fired early on February 14.
Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius is facing a charge of premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
On Tuesday Oscar Pistorius told the court he shot Reeva Steenkamp through a bathroom door after mistaking her for an intruder.
It is the second day of his bail hearing in Pretoria.
A full trial of Oscar Pistorius, 26, is not expected for months.
Oscar Pistorius arrived at the court building on Wednesday morning in a police car with a blue blanket covering his head.
Courtroom proceedings were delayed as journalists and onlookers tried to get into the court. One journalist fainted in the scrum.
The magistrate has deemed this a schedule six case – meaning Oscar Pistorius is accused of premeditated murder.
Chief investigating officer Hilton Botha is set respond to Oscar Pistorius’s testimony.
On Tuesday Oscar Pistorius told the bail hearing that he loved Reeva Steenkamp and had never intended to kill her.
In a statement read to the court, Oscar Pistorius – who is a double amputee – said he woke in the middle of the night and thought he heard an intruder in his bathroom.
In pitch darkness, he said he took a pistol from beneath his bed. After screaming for the intruder to leave, he said he fired four shots through the door.
South African prosecutors have said that a witness heard “non-stop shouting” coming from Oscar Pistorius’ mansion before shots were fired early on February 14
Oscar Pistorius claimed he was not wearing his prosthetic legs during this time, and that this made him feel “extremely vulnerable”. He says he is able to move on his stumps.
Only after shooting did he realize Reeva Steenkamp was not still in his bed, the statement said. He broke down the bathroom door and discovered her body.
“She died in my arms,” the statement said.
“I am absolutely mortified at the death of my beloved Reeva.”
Oscar Pistorius wept as his affidavit was read out in court.
But his account was disputed by the prosecution, who said the couple may have argued before the shooting.
“There is no possible explanation to support his report that he thought it was a burglar,” prosecutors said.
“It was all part of the pre-planning. Why would a burglar lock himself inside the bathroom?” prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court.
The prosecution claims that in fact Oscar Pistorius put on his prosthetic legs and walked seven metres before shooting Reeva Steenkamp through the closed bathroom door – details that showed the murder was premeditated.
The first day of the bail hearing coincided with Reeva Steenkamp’s funeral.
The 29-year-old model and law graduate was cremated in her home town of Port Elizabeth.
Her father, Barry Steenkamp, told reporters: “We have to keep Reeva in our hearts forever.”
The case has aroused huge interest both in South Africa, where Oscar Pistorius is regarded as a national hero, and around the world.
Oscar Pistorius is a multiple Paralympic champion, winning gold medals at the 2004 Games in Athens, at Beijing 2008 and at London 2012.
In London Oscar Pistorius made history by becoming the first double amputee to run in the Olympics, progressing to the semi-finals of the 400 m.
Oscar Pistorius has strongly rejected a charge that he murdered his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Reeva Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, was shot dead at South African Olympic and Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius’s home near Pretoria on Thursday.
Appearing in court in Pretoria, Oscar Pistorius, 26, wept as prosecutors vowed to pursue a charge of premeditated murder.
An application for bail was postponed until next Tuesday and the athlete will remain in police custody.
Dubbed “blade runner”, he made history last summer by becoming the first double-amputee track athlete to run in an Olympic Games.
“The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms,” said a statement released by Oscar Pistorius’s family and management company after the court hearing.
“Our thoughts and prayers today should be for Reeva and her family – regardless of the circumstances of this terrible, terrible tragedy,” it said.
They were the first words released on behalf of Oscar Pistorius since Reeva Steenkamp was found fatally wounded at his home in the gated Silver Woods development outside the South African capital.
But they gave no explanation of what had happened.
Hours earlier, Oscar Pistorius sobbed audibly during his initial appearance at Pretoria Magistrates Court.
Dozens of reporters witnessed the hearing, where chief magistrate Desmond Nair was presiding.
The defendant cut a lonely figure in a crowded court, with his hands clenched and his neck muscles twitching, before he held his head forward, breathing heavily through tears.
When Prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued for the graver charge of “premeditated murder”, Oscar Pistorius slumped forward at the mention of the words.
If convicted of premeditated murder, Oscar Pistorius will face a life term in prison. But his defence is seeking a lesser charge, possibly culpable homicide, which is defined in South African law as unlawful, negligent killing.
Oscar Pistorius has strongly rejected a charge that he murdered his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp
Media access was discussed at the 40-minute session and the magistrate ruled that there should be no live recording of the bail hearings.
Oscar Pistorius’s team had argued against such coverage and cited his “extremely traumatized state of mind”.
Both prosecution and defence agreed Oscar Pistorius could remain in custody at a police station and not in prison.
Members of Oscar Pistorius’s family, including sister Aimee, brother Carl and father Henke, were in the courtroom.
His brother and father, sitting behind the athlete, reached forward to touch his shoulder during the proceedings.
Oscar Pistorius had earlier arrived at court in the back of a police vehicle, hiding his face with a jacket and notebook.
Forensic scientists are expected to continue examining the house in the Silver Lakes area on the outskirts of South Africa’s administrative capital where Reeva Steenkamp died.
Correspondents say the athlete’s arrest has stunned the country where he is considered a national hero.
Oscar Pistorius is known as “blade runner” because of the carbon fibre prosthetic blades he races in. He was born without a fibula in both legs and had his legs amputated below the knee before his first birthday.
Police were called to his home in the early hours of Thursday morning.
They found paramedics treating a 29-year-old woman with four gunshot wounds to the head and upper body. She died at the scene, and officers recovered a 9mm pistol.
A post-mortem examination was carried out on Friday but the results would not be made public, police said.
Reeva Steenkamp’s body is due to be flown home to Port Elizabeth for a memorial service next Tuesday, South African media report – the same day that Oscar Pistorius is next expected in court.
They had reportedly been dating since November.
Model Reeva Steenkamp was already well known in South Africa but was seen as being on the verge of a new career, with her appearance in a pre-recorded reality TV show set to start on Saturday.
The producers of Tropika Island of Treasure said they were going ahead with the programme, filmed in Jamaica, after “much deliberation“.
“Every episode that she is in, every frame that she so ably dominates – shines with her light and her laughter echoes in every conversation, and we want to share these special memories with the rest of South Africa,” the programme said.
Meanwhile, world athletics figures spoke of their shock at what had happened.
His training partner, UK 400 m runner Martyn Rooney, released a statement saying his “thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those involved”.
“I’ve not heard what he has to say. I wouldn’t want to be in his situation, but I hope that, at the end of it all, justice will prevail,” said Jamaica’s Olympic women’s 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
Oscar Pistorius dominated in his category at successive Paralympic Games, but in 2008 he won a legal battle over his blades – which critics said gave him an unfair advantage – with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for the right to compete in able-bodied competitions.
He reached the 40 0m semi-finals in the London 2012 Olympics. At the Paralympics he won silver in the T44 200 m, gold in the 4×100 m relay and gold in the T44 400 m, setting a Paralympic record.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of crime in the world and many residents keep weapons to protect themselves against intruders.
But gun ownership is strictly regulated and it is not easy to obtain a licence.
Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius was today charged with murder after allegedly shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead at his mansion in Pretoria, South Africa.
Reeva Steenkamp, 29, a former FHM model who had been dating the 26-year-old for two months, was shot four times in the head, chest and arm inside his home at 4:00 a.m.
Oscar Pistorius may have killed Reeva Steenkamp with a handgun kept next to his bed after a Valentine’s Day surprise went tragically wrong and he thought she was a burglar, sources have said.
But police say Reeva Steenkamp’s death is being treated as murder, adding that officers had been sent to previous incidents of a “domestic nature” at Oscar Pistorius’ address on the exclusive Silver Woods gated estate.
Brigadier Denise Beukes added police were “very surprised” by the intruder suggestion, telling reporters: “These allegations did not come from us.”
Oscar Pistorius was due in court this afternoon but the hearing has now been delayed to 9:00 a.m. and the sprinter is in custody.
Oscar Pistorius was today charged with murder after allegedly shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead at his mansion in Pretoria
Police were called to his home in the upmarket Silver Woods gated compound on the outskirts of South Africa’s administrative capital in the early hours of Thursday morning.
They found paramedics treating a 29-year-old woman with four gunshot wounds to the head and upper body. Reeva Steenkamp died at the scene, and officers recovered a 9 mm pistol.
Early reports suggested Oscar Pistorius might have mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder.
Police say neighbors heard screaming and shouting around the time of the shooting, and that they had been called to investigate incidents of a domestic nature at the same house in the past.
They also said that they would oppose any bail application.