Written by Kumudu Jayawardana
03 Mar, 2014 | 4:17 pm
South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Mr Pistorius shot Ms Steenkamp, 29, a model and reality TV star, at his home in Pretoria on 14 February 2013.
State prosecutors allege the killing was premeditated, but he claims he mistook her for an intruder.
For the first time in South Africa, parts of the trial will be televised live.
The arrest of the national sporting hero astounded South Africa.
The 27-year-old double amputee won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and also competed at the Olympics.
Mr Pistorius pleaded not guilty to all charges, including the “wilful and intentional murder of Reeva Steenkamp” as the trial began.
His lawyer is reading out a statement from the athlete, giving his version of events of how Ms Steenkamp died, saying he believed his girlfriend was in bed when he shot at the toilet door in the early hours of Valentine’s Day last year.
The start to proceedings at the court in the capital were delayed by 90 minutes as a Afrikaans translator was absent.
The BBC’s Andrew Harding in the courtroom says Mr Pistorius looked calm, or at least neutral as he arrived in court – a far cry from the emotional wreck he seemed at the bail hearing last year.
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