Africa

Oscar Pistorius 'shot Reeva Steenkamp in bathroom'

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Media captionReeva Steenkamp was laid to rest as Pistorius faced court

South African athletics star Oscar Pistorius killed his girlfriend by shooting her through a bathroom door at his home, prosecutors told a court.

Details of the prosecution's case against Mr Pistorius, accused of the premeditated murder of Reeva Steenkamp, emerged at a bail hearing in Pretoria.

Mr Pistorius, who denies murder, told the court through his lawyer: "I had no intention to kill my girlfriend."

The hearing came as the victim's family held a funeral in Port Elizabeth.

Following the private ceremony, the 29-year-old former model's father, Barry Steenkamp, told reporters: "We have to keep Reeva in our hearts forever".

Her brother Adam said there was "a space missing" inside all the people she knew.

'Answers'

The prosecution is pursuing a charge of premeditated murder against the 26-year-old athlete.

Image caption Oscar Pistorius could face life in jail if found guilty

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court that on the night of the killing Mr Pistorius - a double amputee - got up, put on his prostheses, walked seven metres (24ft) and fired his gun through the bathroom door.

He shot four times and hit Ms Steenkamp three times, he said. The defendant later broke down the bathroom door and carried the victim downstairs, Mr Nel added.

Defence lawyer Barry Roux told the court his client did not know in advance who was behind the door.

He said the prosecution had provided "no evidence of premeditated murder", and that it was not even murder.

Mr Roux later read a statement from Mr Pistorius saying the couple had decided to spend Thursday evening at home.

"We were in our bedroom. She was doing her yoga exercises. I was watching television," it added. The statement said the couple loved each other and that Mr Pistorius had no intention of killing Ms Steenkamp.

The defendant was sobbing as his lawyer spoke, correspondents in court say.

After hearing argument from both sides, the magistrate ruled that Mr Pistorius should indeed face a charge under the so-called "Schedule 6", or premeditated murder.

His family held each other and prayed as the court went into recess, our correspondent added.

The judge reserved the right to downgrade his ruling at any time, but Mr Pistorius' legal team will now need to prove he deserves bail despite facing the most serious charge.

Following Thursday's killing, there was media speculation that Ms Steenkamp had been mistaken for an intruder, but police rejected that possibility.

Mr Pistorius has been held in a cell at a police station Pretoria since his arrest on Thursday. He could face life imprisonment if found guilty.

Outside the court, campaigners against domestic violence urged the judge to refuse bail. "Pistorius must rot in jail," one placard read.

Ms Steenkamp's relatives spoke of their grief in a newspaper interview published on Monday.

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

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

He is a multiple Paralympic champion, winning gold medals at the 2004 Games in Athens, at Beijing 2008 and at London 2012.

In London he made history by becoming the first double amputee to run in the Olympics, progressing to the semi-finals of the 400m,

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