Oscar Pistorius denies Reeva Steenkamp South Africa murde
South African Olympic and Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius has strongly rejected a charge that he murdered his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Ms Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, was shot dead at Mr Pistorius's home near Pretoria on Thursday.
Appearing in court in Pretoria, Mr Pistorius wept as prosecutors vowed to pursue a charge of premeditated murder.
An application for bail was postponed until next Tuesday and the athlete will remain in police custody.
Dubbed "blade runner", he made history last summer by becoming the first double-amputee track athlete to run in an Olympic Games.
"The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms", said a statement released by Mr Pistorius's family and management company after the court hearing.
"Our thoughts and prayers today should be for Reeva and her family - regardless of the circumstances of this terrible, terrible tragedy," it said.
They were the first words released on behalf of the 26-year-old athlete since Ms Steenkamp was found fatally wounded at his home in the gated Silver Woods development outside the South African capital.
But they gave no explanation of what had happened.'Traumatised'
Hours earlier, Mr Pistorius sobbed audibly during his initial appearance at Pretoria Magistrates Court.
Dozens of reporters witnessed the hearing, where chief magistrate Desmond Nair was presiding.
The BBC's Andrew Harding, who was there, said the defendant cut a lonely figure in a crowded court, with his hands clenched and his neck muscles twitching, before he held his head forward, breathing heavily through tears.
When Prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued for the graver charge of "premeditated murder", Mr Pistorius slumped forward at the mention of the words.
If convicted of premeditated murder, the athlete will face a life term in prison. But his defence is seeking a lesser charge, possibly culpable homicide, which is defined in South African law as unlawful, negligent killing.
Media access was discussed at the 40-minute session and the magistrate ruled that there should be no live recording of the bail hearings.
Mr Pistorius's team had argued against such coverage and cited his "extremely traumatised state of mind".
Both prosecution and defence agreed Mr Pistorius could remain in custody at a police station and not in prison.
Members of Mr Pistorius's family, including sister Aimee, brother Carl and father Henke, were in the courtroom.
His brother and father, sitting behind the athlete, reached forward to touch his shoulder during the proceedings.
Mr Pistorius had earlier arrived at court in the back of a police vehicle, hiding his face with a jacket and notebook.
Forensic scientists are expected to continue examining the house in the Silver Lakes area on the outskirts of South Africa's administrative capital where Ms Steenkamp, 29, died.
Correspondents say the athlete's arrest has stunned the country where he is considered a national hero.
He is known as "blade runner" because of the carbon fibre prosthetic blades he races in. He was born without a fibula in both legs and had his legs amputated below the knee before his first birthday.
Police were called to his home in the early hours of Thursday morning.
They found paramedics treating a 29-year-old woman with four gunshot wounds to the head and upper body. She died at the scene, and officers recovered a 9mm pistol.
A post-mortem examination was carried out on Friday but the results would not be made public, police said.
Ms Steenkamp's body is due to be flown home to Port Elizabeth for a memorial service next Tuesday, South African media report - the same day that Oscar Pistorius is next expected in court.