Lifestyle & Belief

Oscar Pistorius to face murder charge on dead girlfriend's birthday


South Africa's Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius leaves the Boshkop police station on February 14, 2013 in Pretoria East, to be taken into police custody after allegedly shooting dead his model girlfriend.



Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee Olympian from South Africa, will likely be indicted for murdering lover Reeva Steenkamp when he returns to court on Monday.

The 26-year-old sprinter will appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court six months after shooting dead girlfriend Steenkamp as she hid in a bathroom of his upscale home, Agence France-Presse reported.

The platinum blonde cover girl and law graduate died on Valentine's Day after being shot in the head, elbow and hip.

She would have turned 30 on Monday, when prosecutors are expected to unveil a five-page indictment against Pistorius for premeditated murder, according to sources close to the investigation.

The hearing is expected to be brief, and according to Pistorius family spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess the "chances are very high that a trial date will be set."

Pistorius, who is out on bail and faces a life sentence if found guilty, has denied murder, saying he shot Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door because he believed she was an intruder.

The trial is not expected to start until 2014, given the backlog in South Africa's regional high courts.

A single senior judge will hear the case. South Africa does not have a jury system.

The indictment could detail key aspects of the police investigation into Steenkamp's death that came under scrutiny during a lengthy bail hearing.

These may include ballistics information from the bathroom door suggesting Pistorius's height at the time of the shooting.

Prosecutors assert he donned his two prosthetic legs before firing four shots through the bathroom door, a delay they say proves the murder was premeditated.

The athlete, who was born without calf bones and had both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old, claims he was on his knees.

The indictment could also shed light on phone records from four cell phones found outside the room where Steenkamp had locked herself in.

Investigators had to contact mobile manufacturer Apple in the United States as well as Interpol to access one of the phones, Pistorius's iPhone 5.

The athlete apparently could not remember the four-digit pass code to unlock the phone, according to media reports.

There is also the chance Pistorius will face new firearms charges, Reuters reported.

Local media have said prosecutors are likely to charge the Blade Runner with recklessly discharging a firearm in public.

He faces life in prison, and 25 years until the chance of parole, if convicted of premeditated murder, Associated Press said.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.