Johannesburg – Oscar Pistorius was South Africa’s golden boy after the Paralympian athlete competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
He was the first-ever double-leg amputee to take part in such an event but almost a year later, he was charged with the murder of his model and law-graduate girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Steenkamp was shot through the locked toilet door of the athlete’s Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day last year.
Nicknamed “Blade Runner” after the carbon-fibre prostheses on which he propelled himself to fame and fortune, the Paralympian sprint athlete had ended the previous year at the top of his game.
Pistorius’s achievements included winning gold at the 2012 Paralympic Games, and appearing at the Summer Olympics – the first-ever double-leg amputee to take part in such an event.
The key dates in his journey from internationally renowned athlete to a man on trial for murder appear below:
14 February 2013: News breaks around 08:00 on Valentine’s Day: Pistorius has shot and killed his girlfriend, claiming he mistook her for a robber. Police later confirm they have arrested Pistorius and recovered a 9mm pistol.
By mid-morning, police confirm the woman shot dead is 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp. They say they will oppose bail when Pistorius appears in court.
15 February 2013: After spending the night behind bars, Pistorius appears in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court. Prosecutors announce they intend to pursue a charge of premeditated murder. His bail hearing is set for 19 February.
17 February 2013: Pistorius’s agent, Peet van Zyl, says all future races Pistorius is contracted to compete in have been cancelled.
19 February 2013: Reeva Steenkamp‘s funeral is held in Port Elizabeth. Pistorius appears in court on the first day of a bail hearing. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel says Pistorius fired four shots through a bathroom door, hitting Steenkamp three times. His defence says Pistorius thought Steenkamp was an intruder. Pistorius denies he deliberately shot Steenkamp.
22 February 2013: Magistrate Desmond Nair grants Pistorius R1m bail. Conditions include that Pistorius surrender his passport and any weapons in his possession.
28 February 2013: Pistorius appears on the cover of the March issue of Time Magazine in the US, Asia, and the South Pacific. He is bare-chested, wearing shorts and his running blades. Printed over his picture are the words: “Man Superman Gunman”.
11 March 2013: Lawyers for Pistorius file an appeal against bail restrictions imposed on him.
28 March 2013: Pistorius’s bail restrictions are eased by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, allowing him to leave South Africa if he wants to compete internationally.
19 August 2013: The day on which Steenkamp would have turned 30, Pistorius appears in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court before magistrate Desmond Nair to have the State’s indictment served on him. He is charged with premeditated murder and violation of the Firearms Control Act.
Accompanying the indictment is a list of more than 100 possible witnesses. The trial is set to take place in the North Gauteng High Court from 3 March 2014 to 20 March 2014.
14 February 2014: On the anniversary of Steenkamp’s death, Pistorius posts a tribute to her on his official website: “No words can adequately capture my feelings about the devastating accident that has caused such heartache for everyone who truly loved – and continues to love Reeva.”
It is the first time Pistorius tweeted since 13 February 2013.
19 February 2014: Media groups ask the high court for permission to broadcast Pistorius’s murder trial. A 24-hour TV channel dedicated to the upcoming trial will be launched on DStv on 2 March, a day before Pistorius goes on trial. Permission to televise the trial live, with conditions, is later granted.
3 March 2014: Trial starts in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria where Pistorius pleaded not guilty.
25 March 2014: The State closes its case after calling 21 of the 107 witnesses on its witness list.
8 July 2014: Judge Thokozile Masipa rules that no heads of argument could be published in print or electronic media until the commencement of the arguments in court.
12 July 2014: Pistorius and Johannesburg businessman Jared Mortimer are reportedly involved in a nightclub brawl in Sandton.
13 July 2014: Pistorius posts a number of pictures to Twitter.
30 July 2014: The State files its final arguments.
4 August 2014: The defence files its final arguments.
7 August and 8 August 2014: The State and defence present their closing arguments and both Pistorius and Steenkamp’s fathers made a debut appearance at the trial.
Barry Roux, SC, for Pistorius, accuses the State of being selective in the evidence it chose to accept and consider for its case and of ignoring crucial matters raised in the trial.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel says Pistorius should be convicted of murder because he showed his “mendacity and deceitfulness”.
8 August 2014: Pistorius tweets “Thank you to my loved ones and those that have been there for me, who have picked me up and helped me through everything.”
10 August 2014: Pistorius takes to twitter again. Tweets: “Lord, I know you have a plan for each everyone that is struggling, please give them peace and help them to believe.”
11 September 2014: Judgment expected to start.