In a hot and packed Pretoria court room Oscar Pistorius was transformed Friday from a dynamic medal-winning Olympic icon to a sobbing murder suspect.
Hours before the suspect was even scheduled to arrive more than 150 people crammed between the brick walls of Pretoria Magistrate's courtroom C.
Distressed family members, court workers, police and reporters from around the world waited together uneasily — not risking even a toilet break — to see what had become of one of the world's most famous athletes. Court officials shut out dozens of other onlookers. A few, lucky to be near small glass windows on two doors, peeped through. After the clamouring, waiting and whispered requests for water and tissues for the 26-year-old, the room arose for Magistrate Desmond Nair's arrival. Then through a wood-framed door — wearing a dark navy blue suit, a light blue shirt and sombre striped tie — walked Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius. Grim-faced, the double-amputee sprinter filed into the defendant's bench.
When Nair declared that Pistorius's bail application would be delayed to next Tuesday and he would be remanded in a Pretoria police station, the athlete sobbed again before being escorted away.
His lawyers had sought a postponement to allow them more time to build arguments for his release from custody.
Oscar rejects charge
Johannesburg: Oscar Pistorius's family and management company disputed the allegation he murdered his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp "in the strongest terms".
"Firstly, and most importantly, all our thoughts today must be with the family and friends of Reeva Steenkamp. Oscar Pistorius has appeared in court here in Pretoria this morning formally charged with the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms,” read a statement.
Oscar wild: dark tales
Beneath his glossy public persona there have been signs of a more complex side to the Blade Runner.
Turbulent family life marked his childhood. His parents divorced when he was six and his mother died when he was 15. The date she died is tatooed on his arm. The middle child between a younger sister and elder brother, he has problematic relationship with his father, Henke, but the two brothers are close.
Detailed his love of fast cars and bikes in an interview last year, and a speedboat crash into a submerged pier on a river south of Johannesburg in 2009, left him with broken ribs, a broken jaw and eye socket and requiring 172 stitches in his face. Empty alcohol bottles were found in the boat, but his blood alcohol content wasn't tested.
In 2009 Pistorius spent a night in jail after allegedly assaulting a 19-year-old woman at a party. "Oscar is certainly not what people think he is," said ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor last November.
A year ago he told the New York Times of an incident where he took his gun to go downstairs to check on what turned out to be a false setting off of his security alarm. He also took the newspaper's reporter to a nearby shooting range with his 9-millimetre handgun after learning that the journalist had never fired a shot.
In an interview last year, it was revealed he slept with a pistol next to his bed, a machine gun by a window, and a cricket bat and baseball bat behind the door.