independent

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Oscar Pistorius in court to be charged with murder of girlfriend

Reeva Steenkamp

Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius arrived at a court in South Africa today, charged with murdering his girlfriend at his home in Pretoria.

The gold-medal winner, known as the Blade Runner for his prosthetic legs, earlier left a police station with a coat over his head and arrived at the court amid a media frenzy, TV footage showed. His hearing before magistrates will take place at 9am, it was reported.

 

Pistorius, 26, was arrested yesterday over the killing of Reeva Steenkamp, 30, who had been shot in the head and upper body.

 

South African media reported that Paralympic and Olympic track star Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend four times through a bathroom door at his Pretoria home.

 

Police have given few details of the shooting, other than to say his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, died of gun-shot wounds.

 

Initial reports suggested the model might have been mistaken for a burglar, but Brigadier Denise Beukes later said police were "very surprised" by that suggestion, adding: "These allegations did not come from us."

 

There had been previous incidents of a "domestic nature" at the property on the exclusive, gated Silver Lakes Golf Estate in the South African capital Pretoria, she added.

 

A 9mm pistol was recovered and, according to unconfirmed reports, four shots were fired.

 

Police spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale told the South African Press Association: "Paramedics declared the woman dead on the scene and police proceeded with their investigation.

 

"The woman sustained wounds to her head and the upper body."

 

Police said an application for bail by Pistorius' lawyer Kenny Oldwage would be opposed.

 

Dressed in a grey hooded jacket, tracksuit trousers and trainers, Pistorius, 26, walked with head bowed from Boschkop police station yesterday before being taken to Pretoria's Mamelodi Day Hospital in a police convoy.

 

Ms Beukes said the medical examination was "standard procedure".

 

Mr Oldwage told reporters: "He is very well, obviously emotional, but he is fine."

 

Pistorius' spokesman, from the Fast Track agency in London, said he was "assisting the police with their investigations" but no further comment could be made until matters became clearer.

 

Initial rumours suggested the shooting may have been a Valentine's Day surprise gone wrong.

 

The couple had only been going out since November.

 

Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, tweeted the day before Valentine's Day: "What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow??? #getexcited #ValentinesDay."

 

Pistorius 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 interviewed him last summer and said: "This being South Africa, one baseball bat and one cricket bat lie behind Pistorius' bedroom door.

 

"A revolver is at his bedside.

 

"A machine gun by his window."

 

The athlete made history at the London 2012 Olympics by becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete in the able-bodied Games, running in the 400m and 4x400m relay.

 

The star was born without fibulas and underwent below-the-knee amputations at 11 months old.

 

He had to win a legal battle over his blades with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in 2008 for the right to compete in able-bodied competition.

 

Pistorius' father said his son was "sad" following the shooting.

 

Henke Pistorius told SABC radio news: "I don't know the facts. If anyone makes a statement, it will have to be Oscar. He's sad at the moment."

Press Association

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