The accused Oscar Pistorius.
The accused Oscar Pistorius.

South African athlete pleads not guilty to murder

OSCAR Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to murdering his former girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp as his trial kicked off in South Africa today.

The South African athlete, who is accused of shooting the model at his home in Pretoria on 14 February 2013, insisted he was not guilty of "wilful and intentional murder" as his highly-mediatised trial began yesterday.

His lawyer read out a statement from the 27-year-old athlete, describing how he mistook her for an intruder and allegedly believed Reeva was in bed when he shot at the toilet door in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

Meanwhile, state prosecutors claim the killing was premeditated and called upon the first witness, Oscar's neighbour Michelle Burger.

The woman, who has requested that her testimony not be televised, alleged she awoke hearing a woman's screams and heard a call for help.

The double amputee, who won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, displayed a poker face as he appeared in court earlier today, where he was supported by his uncle, brother and sister, according to the BBC.

Oscar released a statement on the anniversary of the incident saying: "The loss of Reeva and the complete trauma of that day, I will carry with me for the rest of my life."

He could face life behind bars if he is found guilty of premeditated murder by Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa. The trial continues.

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