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Pistorius disputes murder charge 'in the strongest terms'

ESPN staff
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Oscar Pistorius charged with premeditated murder

The family and management company of Oscar Pistorius released a statement on Friday, reacting to the South African's premeditated murder charge by stating: "The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms".

Pistorius broke down and wept as he attended a magistrates' court hearing in Pretoria on Friday morning, where prosecutors said they would pursue a charge of premeditated murder against him. A guilty verdict could result in a life sentence.

The global Paralympic icon, smartly dressed in a grey suit, masked his face as he made his way past the media, clearly extremely emotional at the death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was found shot dead at his house on Thursday.

Pistorius cried in court and at times struggled to contain his emotions, doubling over as the words "premeditated murder" were uttered. His bail hearing was postponed until Tuesday, so he will be held at a local police station until that appearance.

Following the one-hour hearing, Pistorius' family and management company released the following statement, indicating their intention to fight the charge levied at the athlete.

"Firstly, and most importantly, all our thoughts today must be with the family and friends of Reeva Steenkamp," the statement began.

"Oscar Pistorius has appeared in court here in Pretoria this morning formally charged with the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms.

"These are now live and active legal proceedings which must be allowed to take their course through the process of proper investigation by the police, evidence-gathering and through the local South African judicial system.

"In a short hearing lawyers representing the athlete asked for a postponement for a bail application until Tuesday next week to allow time for their own investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy, which was agreed by the magistrate, who also agreed that Pistorius would be held in custody at a local police station.

"Oscar Pistorius has made history as an Olympic and Paralympic sportsman and has been an inspiration to others the world over. He has made it very clear that he would like to send his deepest sympathies to the family of Reeva. He would also like to express his thanks through us today for all the messages of support he has received - but as stated our thoughts and prayers today should be for Reeva and her family - regardless of the circumstances of this terrible, terrible tragedy.

"We will endeavour to issue other statements as matters develop but in these circumstances I am sure you appreciate it is very difficult to answer any more specific questions. Thank you very much for your attention."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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