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South Africa police say ready for track star Pistorius' trial

Oscar Pistorius awaits the start of court proceedings while his brother Carl (L) looks on, in the Pretoria Magistrates court February 19, 20
Oscar Pistorius awaits the start of court proceedings while his brother Carl (L) looks on, in the Pretoria Magistrates court February 19, 20

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African police are ready to present their case when Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius goes on trial on March 3 for the murder of his girlfriend, domestic news agency SAPA reported on Wednesday.

Pistorius says he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the head, arm and hip in the mistaken belief that she was an intruder at his upmarket home on Valentine's Day last year.

Pistorius, who is out on bail, could face life in prison if convicted in a case which has divided public opinion in South Africa.

"All necessary evidence that we needed to take the docket to court has been collected so far," SAPA quoted police spokeswoman Major General Tebello Mosikili as saying.

Mosikili said 107 witnesses are expected to testify for the prosecution, including Pistorius' sister, uncle and residents of the Silver Woods Country Estate in Pretoria he shot Steenkamp, a model.

Last October, prosecutors said Pistorius would face two additional gun-related charges related to previous incidents in which he is alleged to have fired a gun in a public space.

State lawyers plan to use forensics and witnesses who say they heard shouting before Steenkamp was shot to prove Pistorius killed his girlfriend in cold blood.

The 26-year-old double-amputee, who is known as "Blade Runner" for the prostheses he wears in competition, was one of stars of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in London and is one of South Africa's most revered sportsmen.

(Corrects to make clear news agency is not state-owned)

(Reporting by Stella Mapenzauswa; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Sonya Hepinstall)

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