South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius has denied intending to murder his girlfriend on the night she was shot and killed at his home.
Tweeting from the courtroom, the BBC’s Andrew Harding(@BBCAndrewH) described the atmosphere in court and the emotional reaction of Oscar Pistorius as prosecutors and defence lawyers sparred over what happened on the night Reeva Steenkamp was shot and killed.
Chaos in courthouse as journalists scramble for places at #OscarPistorius trial. Am 4th in queue.. Will that get me a seat?
So much for the queue. Now waiting to be told which 10 journalists will be allowed into #OscarPistorius trial.
Greetings from the benches of court C. #OscarPistorius bail hearing postponed from Friday to start soon.
#OscarPistorius father and other friends and relatives sitting here. Cameras waiting for athlete to walk in. #OscarPistorius big power point projection screen on wall. Likely to be used for evidence. Hushed atmosphere now.
#Pistorius arrives in court. Blue suit tie and shirt. Standing as magistrate tells photographers not to shoot or publish pictures. Pistorius head in hands crying.
Prosecutor Nel addressing court. #OscarPistorius sitting a metre from me. Eyes shut now. Sobbing again. Jaw clenched. Hands in lap.
Magistrate asks him if he’s ok and understands proceedings. He replies “yes” in clear voice. #OscarPistorius still sobbing as prosecutor says he shot through closed door so premeditated murder even if he thought it was burglar.
“Yes your worship” says #OscarPistorius to questions about court procedure. Now defence lawyer arguing
#OscarPistorius sobbing hard now as defence continues. “May have been argument earlier” with Reeva but not proof of murder. No premeditation.
No reason to think fact that door broken suggests guilt. He shot first then broke it to discover his mistake says defence lawyer.
#OscarPistorius defence speculates that prosecution will argue that Reeva was scared and wanted to break up and hence premeditation. No evidence of premeditated murder says his lawyer.
#OscarPistorius lawyer argues with passion. Much more forceful than prosecution.
Prosecution now on attack. “Cold fact – I walk see closed door and I shoot… Deal with motive later.”
Prosecution: not like waking up with someone over your bed and shoot on instinct. No, he woke, put on legs, took gun and walked 7m to shoot.
Prosecution now on attack. “Cold fact – I walk see closed door and I shoot… Deal with motive later.. But motive was to kill.”
Prosecution says tiny bathroom. Nowhere for Reeva to go. #OscarPistorious leaves court for short break. Magistrate ensures no photos or video taken.
#OscarPistorius is just back in court as Reeva Steencamp’s memorial service ending.
More discussions about the meaning of “premeditated” and the occasional joke from the magistrate Nair.
#OscarPistorius silently mouths some words in anguish as magistrate mentions possibility of life imprisonment.
#OscarPistorius magistrate gives blow to athlete’s chances of bail with early ruling on premeditated murder not murder. For now.
#OscarPistorius reacts with more tears then leaves court for another break. #OscarPistorius family gather in group to hold hands and hug.
Magistrate says he could change ruling on premeditated murder at end of hearing.
Prosecutor Nel tells me “a trial within a year” for #OscarPistorius.
Back in session. Never seen someone so focused. #OscarPistorius stares straight ahead.
Criminologist Laurie Pieters tell me SA law is “a marathon” and she worried about #OscarPistorius safety in jail.
#OscarPistorius statement to court read by lawyer: “no intention to kill my girlfriend… No substance in allegation.” Pistorius sobs.
Pistorius describes night in detail. Compelling. Says Reeva must have gone to bathroom when he went to get fan from balcony. Pitch dark in bedroom. I thought intruder in bathroom. Used cricket bat to break door.
I did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable. Horror and fear.
#OscarPistorius friend now tells of serious relationship between Oscar and Reeva. They made each other laugh. Very much in love.
Absolutely mortified by loss of Reeva. I trust South African legal system.
Another friend says #OscarPistorius told him Reeva could be “the one” he would marry.
When I reached the bed I realised Reeva not in bed. Dawned on me that she might be in the toilet. I shouted at Reeva to phone police. Knew I had to protect Reeva and myself.
Friend of Reeva’s calls #OscarPistorius a polite well mannered humble man. Epitome of gentleman. Reeva’s friend says victim told her she would “probably say yes” if #OscarPistorius asked her to marry him
Incredibly compelling testimony from #OscarPistorius and friends. “It just sounds true” says journalist beside me in court. Too scripted says a criminologist. Unconvinced.
Statement by #OscarPistorius doesn’t deal with reports of arguments at home that night.
OscarPistorius hearing adjourns till tomorrow. State prosecution admits they need to do more work after defence statement.