Holding his head in his hands, Oscar Pistorius wept as it was suggested he had deliberately killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The South African Olympian appeared in court in Pretoria on Friday having spent the night in a police cell. He broke down as prosecutors said they intend to pursue a charge of premeditated murder, a charge he has strongly rejected.
Members of his family were in courtroom for the hearing, including his father Henke, sister Aimee and brother Carl.
They leaned forward to touch Oscar”s shoulder as he stood and left the courtroom at the end of proceedings.
His legal team have posted an application for bail, which has now been postponed until next Tuesday. Until then, he will remain in police custody – both the prosecution and the defense have agreed that could take place in a police station rather than prison.
It is the first time the athlete has been seen since Miss Steenkamp, 29, was shot dead at his home on Thursday.
He did not speak in the courtroom, but his family and legal team have since issued a statement on his behalf. “Firstly, and most importantly, all our thoughts today must be with the family and friends of Reeva Steenkamp,” it began.
“Oscar Pistorius has appeared in court here in Pretoria this morning formally charged with the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms.”
Dubbed “Blade Runner” because of the carbon fibre prosthetic blades he races in, Oscar was born without a fibula in both his legs and had both amputated below the knee before his first birthday.
He made history at the London Games last summer by becoming the first double-amputee track athlete to run in the Olympics.
His arrest has completely stunned his home country where he is considered a national hero.
Full statement from Oscar Pistorius” family and management company
Firstly, and most importantly, all our thoughts today must be with the family and friends of Reeva Steenkamp.
Oscar Pistorius has appeared in court here in Pretoria this morning formally charged with the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms.
These are now live and active legal proceedings which must be allowed to take their course through the process of proper investigation by the police, evidence-gathering and through the local South African judicial system.
In a short hearing lawyers representing the athlete asked for a postponement for a bail application until Tuesday next week to allow time for their own investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy, which was agreed by the Magistrate, who also agreed that Pistorius would be held in custody at a local police station.
Oscar Pistorius has made history as an Olympic and Paralympic sportsman and has been an inspiration to others the world over.
He has made it very clear that he would like to send his deepest sympathies to the family of Reeva. He would also like to express his thanks through us today for all the messages of support he has received – but as stated our thoughts and prayers today should be for Reeva and her family – regardless of the circumstances of this terrible, terrible tragedy.
We will endeavour to issue other statements as matters develop but in these circumstances I am sure you appreciate it is very difficult to answer any more specific questions. Thank you very much for your attention.