On the same day that model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp will be laid to rest, double amputee Olympian Oscar Pistorius stood in front of a judge at his bail hearing and told the court that he accidently shot her to death.
Pistorius mistook her for an intruder in the pitch dark of his home, he told a judge in a statement read by his attorney during his bail hearing Tuesday.
“I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder as I had no intention to kill my girlfriend,” Pistorius said in the statement.
Because Pistorius was overcome with emotion, his attorney read the statement to the court. Sources say he sobbed and heaved so heavily that the magistrate had to stop proceedings and ask him to compose himself. Each time Steenkamp’s name was mentioned, Pistorious broke down.
In the statement, Pistorius said he awoke in the early hours of the morning February 14 to noises in the bathroom and said a “sense of terror overwhelmed me.” He said he thought Steenkamp was in bed beside him and that he was too scared to turn on the lights. He said he shouted to her to call police, but she didn’t answer.
He said he was not wearing his prosthetic legs and felt “extremely vulnerable” and needed to protect himself and Steenkamp, 29.
Pistorius then said in the sworn statement that he realized that model Reeva Steenkamp was not in his bed.
“It filled me with horror and fear,” he said.
He put on his prosthetic legs, tried to kick down the door, then bashed it in with a cricket bat to find Steenkamp shot inside.
He said he ran downstairs with her, but “She died in my arms.”
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel charged the 26-year-old athlete and Olympian with premeditated murder, claiming that he took the time to put on his legs and walk seven meters (yards) from the bed to the bathroom door before opening fire.
A conviction of premeditated murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in jail and the magistrate ruled that Pistorius will face the harshest bail requirements available in South African law.
The court adjourned without a decision on bail for Pistorius. The Olympian will face charges outside of court as well, as sporting federations and anti-doping agencies were monitoring developments that he was doping; an allegation that could cost him his medals.
This story is developing.