Trial date set for athlete Oscar Pistorius

Monday 19 August 2013 22.16
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Oscar Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last February
Oscar Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last February
Mr Pistorius and his brother and sister prayed before the brief hearing
Mr Pistorius and his brother and sister prayed before the brief hearing
Ms Steenkamp was shot in the head, arm and hip
Ms Steenkamp was shot in the head, arm and hip

Magistrates in South Africa have set a trial date of 3 March 2014 for Oscar Pistorius over the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The trial in Pretoria is expected to run until 23 March.

The 26-year-old's court appearance this morning came on the day Ms Steenkamp would have turned 30.

The double-amputee bowed his head and held hands in prayer with his brother Carl and sister Aimee before the brief hearing in a Pretoria court.

Mr Pistorius is accused of the premeditated murder of Ms Steenkamp on Valentine's night, but claims he shot the 29-year-old after mistaking her for an intruder.

"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.

Ms Steenkamp was hit in the head, arm and hip and died at the residence on 14 February.

The six-time Paralympic sprint champion was initially charged with premeditated murder for bail purposes while police investigated the circumstances of the shooting.

The "Blade Runner" has resumed a "low-key track routine", according to his family.

Mr Pistorius was one of the most celebrated athletes of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in London, making the Olympic 400m semi-final and winning Paralympic gold over the same distance.