Blade Runner Pistorius sobs in court after murder charge

Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:19am EST
 
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By David Dolan

PRETORIA (Reuters) - South African 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee who became one of the biggest names in world athletics, broke down in tears on Friday after he was charged in court with shooting dead his girlfriend in his Pretoria home.

The 26-year-old Olympic and Paralympic superstar stood with head bowed in front of magistrate Desmond Nair to hear the charge that he had murdered model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius then started sobbing, covering his face with his hands. "Take it easy," Nair told him. "Come take a seat."

The case has stunned a nation that revered 'the fastest man on no legs' as a hero who managed to compete at the highest levels of sport despite being born without a fibula in either leg.

Prosecutors told the Pretoria court the shooting of 30-year-old Steenkamp in the early hours of Thursday was pre-meditated.

Pistorius faces life in prison if found guilty.

He did not enter a plea but a statement issued by his family and London-based agent said the charge was disputed "in the strongest possible terms".

"He (Pistorius) has made it very clear that he would like to send his deepest sympathies to the family of Reeva," the statement said, in the first message attributed to him since his arrest.   Continued...

 
South African 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius (C) is escorted by police during his court appearance in Pretoria February 15, 2013. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko