South African double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius has only been spotted twice in public since he was granted bail on February 22 following the shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day morning.
But Pistorius, 26, is set to reemerge on Tuesday for the start of his trial, where he’ll be defended against the charges of premeditated murder at the Magistrate’s Court in his hometown of Pretoria.
The London Olympian and six-time Paralympic champion shot Steenkamp three times through his bathroom door February 14, but claims he heard a noise that he thought was an intruder in the house, and only after he fired did he considered it might have been his girlfriend. He then called paramedics and carried her downstairs where she died while they were waiting for help.
“The fact that he admitted that he has killed her by pulling the trigger means the state has a prima facie case and it is expected of the accused to come and convince the court otherwise,” Marius du Toit, a legal expert on South Africa’s justice system, told the Associated Press. “His version is going to be exposed and scrutinized in the finest, finest detail.”
Pistorius’s team had considered a return to the track this year, and one of the times the sprinter was seen in public was on the track of a local high school, further adding to the rumor of his return. But his team officially ruled out competitive running in 2013 late last month.
“He is nowhere close to being in a position to train,” coach Ampie Louw told Eye Witness News at the time. “He just does fitness exercises in the morning with his family.”
Pistorius had some of his most lucrative sponsorships suspended in the wake of the shooting, and UK Athletics Chair Ed Warner told BBC Radio in April that Pistorius wouldn’t be welcomed to the London Grand Prix this season, because his appearance would pose too much of a distraction.