South African Olympic and Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius, accused of murdering his model girlfriend, prayed and wiped away tears in a court hearing on Monday which set a March 3, 2014 start date for his trial.
Double-amputee Pistorius, 26 and known as ‘Blade Runner’ for the prostheses he wears in competition, bowed his head and held hands in prayer with his brother Carl and sister Aimee before the brief hearing in a Pretoria court.
Detailed charges were presented outlining the prosecution case of premeditated murder against Pistorius, who has admitted shooting Reeva Steenkamp through a bathroom door at his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day.
Pistorius claims he was acting in self-defence against what he thought was an intruder. His arrest and upcoming trial has riveted South Africa and made headlines around the world.
"Some of the state witnesses heard a woman scream, followed by moments of silence, then heard gunshots and then more screaming," the prosecution's charges summary reads.
Steenkamp was hit in the head, arm and hip and died at the residence on February 14.
Monday's court hearing was held on the day that the victim, a fashion model and aspiring TV star, would have turned 30.
Pistorius was one of the most celebrated athletes of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in London, making the Olympic 400m semifinal and winning Paralympic gold over the same distance.
Image: Oscar Pistorius weeps during court proceedings on Monday
Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters