State: Pistorius committed premeditated murder

The state intends charging the double amputee with pre-meditated murder after the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the Pretoria Magistrate's Court heard on Friday.

"Is the state's argument pre-meditated murder?" asked Magistrate Desmond Nair.

"Yes," said prosecutor advocate Gerrie Nel.

A man, believed to be Pistorius, was sitting in the back seat of a police van, his head covered in a jacket, when he arrived at the court earlier.

The Valentine's Day murder at Paralympian Pistorius's house in Pretoria dominated newspaper front pages on Friday morning, overshadowing President Jacob Zuma's opening of Parliament.

A few hours after Zuma's annual State Of The Nation address on Thursday evening, the head of state failed to make the front page of most newspapers.

Speculation was rife over Pistorius's alleged shooting of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.


Shot four times

The Afrikaans daily Beeld dedicated five full pages to the story, with its front page story, headlined "Dood agter deur [Dead behind door]", saying it understood Steenkamp was shot four times through a bathroom door.

According to the paper, the police and security guards were called to his house about two hours before the shooting, after neighbours heard him and Steenkamp argue. The police were called out a second time around 3am after neighbours heard gunshots, reported Beeld, quoting an unnamed Silver Woods estate resident.

A security guard said her body was found in the bathroom.

Beeld explained its initial report, that the shooting was an accident, had come from police Captain Sarah Mcira, who released the information to their journalist around 8am on Thursday.

Another police spokesperson later said that information came as a surprise. "The South Africa Police Service were just as surprised … to hear on the radio that allegations had been made that the deceased had been perceived to be a burglar," police spokesperson Brigadier Denise Beukes said.

"We were very surprised, and those allegations did not come from us."

'Incidents of a domestic nature'

Beukes's comments that there had been "previous incidents of a domestic nature at his place" were widely reported on.

The Star newspaper cited sources saying Steenkamp's body was found downstairs in the entrance hall of his R3.9-million house.

The Star dedicated its editorial opinion to domestic violence.

The Times newspaper said a "highly skilled team of blood-spatter forensic specialists" would fine-comb Pistorius's house on Friday morning.

The Citizen's front page headline was "Blade gunner?", while the Daily Sun reported on "Oscar's bloody Valentine!", and the Sowetan headlined its front page report "Golden boy loses shine".

The New Age newspaper led with Steenkamp's death, saying it had a copy of a speech Steenkamp had prepared to deliver on Valentine's Day at a high school in Sandton.

The New Age reported on Zuma's speech at the bottom of its front page.

Business Day was the only daily to lead with Zuma, reporting on tax policies in mining.

As Zuma started his speech at 7pm on Thursday, 24-hour news channel eNews featured a special report on the Pistorius shooting, referring viewers to their sister e.tv channel if they wanted to follow the president's speech. – Sapa, Reuters

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