'Rose from bed, walked 20 feet & shot her through the door'

Sports

Facing a charge of premeditated murder in the death of his girlfriend, Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee track star and one of the world's best-known athletes, flatly denied on Tuesday that he intended to take her life when he opened fire at a closed bathroom door at his home last week.

"I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premeditated," he said in an affidavit read to a packed courtroom, "I had no intention to kill my girlfriend."

His assertion contradicted an earlier accusation from the prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, that Pistorius committed premeditated murder when he rose from his bed, pulled on prosthetic legs, walked more than 20 feet and pumped four bullets into the door, three of which struck his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on the other side.

It was the first time that either the prosecution or Pistorius, appearing at a bail hearing, had publicly provided details of their version of events. "We were deeply in love and I could not be happier. I know she felt the same way," Pistorius's affidavit said. As it was read out, the athlete wept so uncontrollably that the magistrate, Desmond Nair, ordered a brief recess to permit him to regain his composure.

The magistrate adjourned the case until Wednesday without ruling on whether Pistorius would be granted bail. He had earlier said he could not exclude premeditation in the killing so Pistorius's bail application would be much more difficult. But he said he would consider downgrading the charges depending on evidence at subsequent hearings.

Pistorius' affidavit

Pistorius said he heard a noise from the bathroom and walked on his stumps, not prosthetic legs. He was nervous, he said, because the toilet window did not have burglar bars and contractors who had been working there had left ladders.

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