SOUTH African Paralympic and Olympic track star Oscar Pistorius is expected to take the stand for the first time on Monday in a bid to prove his innocence against charges he murdered his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius, nicknamed the "Blade Runner" due to the carbon-fibre prosthetic limbs he uses in competition, is accused of killing Steenkamp deliberately by firing four rounds from a 9 mm pistol through a locked toilet door after an argument.
The track star has pleaded not guilty, saying he mistook 29-year-old model and law graduate Steenkamp for an intruder hiding in the toilet at his luxury Pretoria home.
Pistorius is expected to be one of the first witnesses called when his defence team begins laying out its case after a break of more than a week due to the illness of a court official. The prosecution wrapped up its case on March 25.
If found guilty of murder, Pistorius faces at least 25 years in prison.
The trial has gripped South Africa and millions of athletics fans around the world who saw Pistorius as a symbol of triumph over physical adversity.
The sprinter's lower legs were amputated as a baby but he went on to achieve global fame as the "fastest man on no legs," winning gold medals at the Beijing and London Paralympics, and reaching the semi-finals of the 400 metres in the London Olympics against able-bodied athletes.