Africa

Oscar Pistorius returns to court

Oscar Pistorius' father in court
Image caption Oscar Pistorius's father was in court before the hearing began

South African Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius is back in court in Pretoria for a bail hearing that may reveal details of the murder case against him.

He arrived wearing a blue suit and a tie before prosecutors began outlining their case - expected to be a charge of premeditated murder that he will deny.

Mr Pistorius' girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, was shot dead at his home on Thursday. Police recovered a hand gun.

She is due to be cremated at a private ceremony in Port Elizabeth later.

Tuesday's hearing - the first since Mr Pistorius broke down in court on Friday - began with the prosecutor saying the defendant had "shot an unarmed and innocent woman".

The prosecution began outlining evidence against Mr Pistorius to support their argument that he should be denied bail before his trial begins.

Mr Pistorius is also likely to enter a plea for the first time.

The athlete, who has both legs amputated below the knee, was held at a local police station over the weekend, and has not spoken publicly about Ms Steenkamp's death.

But a statement released by Mr Pistorius's family suggests he will deny the charges being prepared against him.

"The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms," it said.

Meanwhile the family of Ms Steenkamp has spoken of its grief in a newspaper interview published on Monday.

Speaking to the Times of South Africa, her mother June Steenkamp said: "All we want are answers... answers as to why this had to happen, why our beautiful daughter had to die like this."

The bail hearing is not expected to be televised after lawyers agreed there should be "no live recording" of proceedings.

The case has aroused huge interest both in South Africa, where he is regarded as a national hero, and around the world.

He rose to fame as one of the most recognisable faces of Paralympic sport, and the first double-amputee track athlete to race in the Olympics.

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