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Oscar Pistorius, the day after the news broke

Damon Rose Damon Rose | 09:48 UK time, Friday, 15 February 2013

Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius

"I didn't expect that story to appear on the news, it shocked me, it could just as well have been Tanni Grey-Thompson flies to the moon," said a friend of mine on the phone last night.

She was, of course, referring to the news that Oscar Pistorius is facing a charge of murder, accused of shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria.

A young woman has tragically lost her life, either by accident or deliberately, and now does not feel a good time to start analysing the wider effect of these sad events but, as the biggest Paralympic brand by quite some margin, the execs at the International Paralympic Committee are doubtless speculating feverishly as to whether interest in the sport might dip if poster-boy Oscar is no longer part of it.

There are few role models in disability and many, including disabled children, have looked towards Oscar with admiration for what he has achieved.

Oscar has been in custody for 24-hours and is appearing at a noisy bail hearing in court where he has broken down in tears when the charges were read to him.

According to the South Africa Police Service (SAPS), it was Oscar who asked to go to court immediately to appeal for bail. He was due in court yesterday lunchtime but it was postponed to Friday morning to allow forensics experts to analyse the evidence they have collected so far.

On BBC Radio 5 live yesterday lunchtime, Dianne Kohler Barnard, South Africa's shadow minister of police, spoke about the early application from the sports star, she said: "I would suggest that, considering his disability, it would be very difficult for him in a SAPS holding cell to stay there even overnight.

"I have been in those cells as part of my job, I go and examine these cells on a regular basis, and they are appalling. Basically people sleep on the floor on an old blanket. For him to physically cope with sleeping on floors, I think [it] may be taken into consideration that with his disability it might be extremely difficult for him not to have seating arrangements or a bed. Even the toilet facilities are, on occasion, something of a challenge.

"I'm sure that will be part of the appeal."

It has been reported that Oscar maintains that the shooting has been an accident and a plea of guilty or not guilty won't be offered until the full trial takes place. Police have said they will not be recommending bail in the meantime.

As is human nature, people are now taking a second look at his character in light of events and trying to come to conclusions that we can not be certain of until a trial takes place. Though he speaks at schools and is about to set up his own charitable foundation, media is understandably concentrating on previous allegations of domestic disturbances at his home and an emerging understanding that guns are a big hobby for him.

The news has no humour value so fans of Channel 4's disability comedy talk show The Last Leg, an unusual hybrid programme which started during the Paralympic Games and is back on our screens Friday nights, will be wondering how the hosts will handle this subject tonight.

Reeva Steenkamp was 30 years old, a law graduate, a model and was about to appear on Tropika Island of Treasure, a local television reality show in a new series which starts Saturday.

Athletics fans have been looking forward to seeing Oscar Pistorius race against Great Britain's Jonnie Peacock this July; they last clashed on Thrilling Thursday at the London Paralympics where Peacock won. Due to a change in sport rules designed to level the playing field a little more, it is the last big event where double amputees like Pistorius will be allowed to race against single amputees like Peacock.

[update 10:19am] It's being reported that Pistorius's defence team asked that he stays in the police cell rather than the local prison. The magistrate has accepted this. A full bail hearing has been postponed until next Tuesday. Oscar has now left the stand.

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