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Chaos at Oscar Pistorius bail hearing

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Published on Feb 19, 2013

Telegraph reporter Aislinn Laing describes a chaotic scene at the South African courthouse where Oscar Pistorius has made a second appearance charged with killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Family members and relatives of Oscar Pistorius, including his father Henke, brother Carl and sister Aimee jammed into the court room in South African capital Pretoria on Tuesday for a bail hearing in the killing of the athlete's girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

South African prosecutors charged the international superstar with premeditated murder saying he fired into the door of a cubicle toilet where his girlfriend was cowering after a shouting match on Valentine's Day, hitting her three times said prosecutor Gerrie Nel said.

Defence lawyer Barry Roux disputed the murder charge, saying the facts surrounding the shooting in the early hours of Thursday were unclear.

The killing has shocked South Africans and many around the world who idolised Pistorius for overcoming adversity to become a sporting champion, competing in the London Olympics last year despite being a Paralympian.

Ms Steenkamp, 29, was a model and law graduate who made her debut on a South African reality TV programme on Saturday, two days after her death.

Pistorius, who had appeared grim and solemn at the start of the hearing, broke down and sobbed softly with his head in his hands as his lawyer argued that he had mistaken Steenkamp for a burglar.

The shooting in the early hours of February 14 came after neighbours had heard a loud argument and then gunshots, police have said. The couple had been dating for about three months.

As details emerged at the dramatic court hearing in the capital, Steenkamp's body was being cremated at a memorial service in her home city of Port Elizabeth in the south.

The defence attorney, in arguing that Pistorius should be freed on bail, said there were no other charges outstanding against the double-amputee.

Legal experts say it could take months for the case to be tried.

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