Oscar Pistorius denies murder at bail hearing in Pretoria court

Last Updated: 19/02/13 11:45am

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Oscar Pistorius did not know his girlfriend was behind a bathroom door when he fired four shots through it, fatally wounding her, a South African court has heard.

The Paralympic star's defence lawyer addressed a bail hearing in Pretoria and, as expected, claimed Reeva Steenkamp was mistaken for a burglar on the night she was killed at Pistorius' home.

The court heard three of the four shots fired hit Ms Steenkamp, who was declared dead at the scene early on 14 February.

Barry Roux, defending, said there were a number of precedents for suspected burglars being shot through closed doors.

But prosecution lawyer Gerrie Nel said the state would argue Pistorius' actions amounted to premeditated murder and that "arming himself, even if to shoot a burglar, constitutes pre-planning."

Pistorius would be unlikely to win bail if the judge agreed the case should be tried as premeditated murder - a 'schedule six' offence which is the most serious kind of murder charge in South African law.

And with the court still in session Magistrate Desmond Nair said the defence had not yet made a case for downgrading the charge to 'schedule five'.

Ms Steenkamp was cremated at a private ceremony in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

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