Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Pistorius in court over shooting

South Africa's Oscar Pistorius celebrates with his gold medal after winning the Men's 400m T44 final at the Olympic Stadium, London
South Africa's Oscar Pistorius celebrates with his gold medal after winning the Men's 400m T44 final at the Olympic Stadium, London

South African Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius is to appear in court charged with murder after his girlfriend was shot dead at his home.

According to initial reports in local media, model Reeva Steenkamp, 30, may have been mistaken for a burglar at the property in the Silver Lakes Golf Estate in Pretoria.

But police said the shooting was being treated as a murder investigation and said there had been previous incidents at the address described as "allegations of a domestic nature".

Brigadier Denise Beukes said Pistorius will be appearing in court this afternoon and bringing a formal bail application.

Confirming there had been previous "incidents" at the athlete's home, she said: "I can't confirm that it's related to the person that's arrested but I can confirm there has previously been incidents at the home of Mr Oscar Pistorius." She said these were "allegations of a domestic nature". She said there was no signs of forced entry at the address. The officer said Pistorius was co-operating with police.

There had been speculation the shooting may have been a Valentine's Day surprise gone wrong. Miss Steenkamp, described in her Twitter biography as a model, cover girl and law graduate, had tweeted about Valentine's Day on Wednesday, writing: "What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow??? #getexcited #ValentinesDay".

Pistorius, 26, appeared to have serious concerns about his safety and was said to sleep with a revolver by his side. A journalist from the Daily Mail who interviewed Pistorius last summer noted: "This being South Africa, one baseball bat and one cricket bat lie behind Pistorius's bedroom door. A revolver is at his bedside. A machine gun by his window."

Pistorius's father said his son was "sad" following the shooting. Henke Pistorius told SABC radio news: "I don't know nothing. It will be extremely obnoxious and rude to speculate. I don't know the facts. If anyone makes a statement, it will have to be Oscar."

Gold medal winner Pistorius is known as the Blade Runner because of the ground-breaking prosthetics he uses for racing. He made history at the London 2012 Olympics when he became the first amputee sprinter to compete in the able-bodied Games, running in the 400m and 4x400m relay.

Miss Steenkamp's publicist Sarit Tomlinson paid tribute to Steenkamp, describing her as "the sweetest human being and an absolute angel on earth". She added: "She was the kindest, most unbelievable girl." She told Sky News: "It's shocking. No one knows what happened. We're waiting for information. There are people we are waiting to speak to, to validate some of the stories."

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