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Johannesburg - Oscar Pistorius had every intention to kill whoever cowered behind his locked bathroom door on Valentine’s Day. He armed himself with a 9mm pistol and fired four shots at his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through the locked door - killing her.
This was the case presented on Monday in the Pretoria magistrate’s court against the man who rose to fame at last year’s London Olympics as the first double-amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes.
In an 11-page indictment detailing the murder charge against the athlete, the State also added a charge of Contravention of the Firearms Control Act, which essentially means Pistorius also unlawfully possessed ammunition on the night of Steenkamp’s murder.
“The accused said to witnesses on the scene that he thought she (Steenkamp) was an intruder. Even then, the accused shot with the direct intent to kill a person,” the indictment stated.
The State also dismisses the Paralympian’s assertion that he had thought there was an intruder in the toilet, hence he fired the shots that killed Steenkamp.
The State alleges that some of the State witnesses heard a woman scream, followed by moments of silence, then heard gunshots and then more screams.
Among the 107 witnesses to be called when the matter goes to trial in the Pretoria High Court in March next year will be Pistorius’s sister Aimee, whom he spent time praying with shortly before magistrate Desmond Nair resumed Monday’s proceedings.
Pistorius, who arrived in a Silver Range Rover shortly before 9am, walked to the dock, stood facing the public gallery and joined his siblings - Aimee and Carl - in prayer.
Unperturbed by camera flashes around him, he joined hands with his siblings, closed his eyes and bowed his head.
The prayer was briefly interrupted by Pistorius’s lawyer Advocate Kenny Oldwadge who wanted to consult with him.
However, as soon as he was done, the trio continued with their long prayer session.
At some point Aimee was the one who led the prayer, stroking her two brothers’ hands as she did.
As she prayed, Pistorius broke down crying. Aimee also cried and Pistorius reached into his pocket and gave her a tissue to wipe her tears.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Medupe Simasiku spoke to the throng of reporters outside the court, saying the trial should run smoothly.
“Let the court decide the strength of the case,” he said of the trial that was set down to run over three weeks, from March 3 to March 20,. He also indicated that witnesses who the State intended to call had co-operated with the police.
These include Hilton Botha - the case’s original investigating officer who was removed from the case after it was found that he himself was facing attempted murder charges; Pistorius’s former girlfriend Samantha Taylor; and the Steenkamps’ surrogate family, the Myers family of Glenhazel in north-east Joburg.
The family - sisters Kim and Gina, and their mother Dessie - arrived in court wearing black before taking their place on the opposite end of the public gallery to the Pistorius family.
Reeva would have turned 30 on Monday, and the model and her friends had planned a trip to Las Vegas, the sisters told Carte Blanche last night.
“She was going to Vegas for her 30th birthday - one of our friends was getting married there.
“It was going to be a big year,” said Gina, Steenkamp’s best friend.
She said however that her family would celebrate Steenkamp’s birthday by having cupcakes.
Upon arrival at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court at 8.30am, Gina tweeted: “In court today to represent… Always with you my Alfi @reevasteenkamp miss you infinitely.” Her sister Kim followed suit: “In court today in memory of @reevasteenkamp #love and #miss you my #LFB #RIPreeva #ReevaSteenkamp.”
They declined to talk to the media following the postponement of the case, saying they would release a media statement through their lawyer later today.
Steenkamp’s mother, June, was not prepared to talk when contacted on Monday morning.
She and her husband were not in court for Monday’s proceedings.
As with his previous court appearances, the Paralympian’s hearing attracted a large media contingent, with scores of journalists swarming the road in front of the court building, people stopping to stare and broadcast vans with huge satellite dishes lining the streets.
Security was so tight that police sniffer dogs and an explosives team swept the courtroom to check for explosives as members of the media scurried to sort their accreditation to be allowed inside the courtroom.
Court security had taped cardboard to the glass panes of the courtroom doors to prevent photographers from taking photos from outside while court was in session, as that had annoyed Nair during Pistorius’s court appearances before.
Pistorius was arrested in February after gunning down Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door of his his luxury Pretoria home.
He has maintained that he shot Steenkamp because he mistook her for a burglar, but the State’s case is that the murder was premeditated - an offence that carries a life sentence.
His R1 million bail was extended this morning and he will continue to stay with his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, in Waterkloof, an upmarket Pretoria suburb.