Oscar Pistorius' girlfriend's skull 'crushed'

Last updated 07:30 18/02/2013

Family members of double amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius say pre-meditated murder charges against him will be proven false. Julie Noce reports.

Oscar Pistorius
Reuters
MURDER CHARGE: Oscar Pistorius weeps in court as he is charged in court with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

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A bloodied cricket bat found at Oscar Pistorius' home is central to the evidence against him, a South African newspaper has reported.

The star athlete, known as the Blade Runner, is charged with the murder of girlfriend  Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot four times at his home on Valentine's Day.

The City Press newspaper reported that a cricket bat covered in blood was found at Pistorius's home and was the central piece of evidence against him.

The newspaper said sources close to the investigation had told it Steenkamp's skull was crushed. Police had also asked Pistorius to be tested for drugs.

City Press also reported that Pistorius called his father soon after 3.20am on Thursday and asked him to come to the house. When the family arrived, he was allegedly carrying Steenkamp down the stairs.

The paper's sources dismissed the theory that Pistorius mistook Steenkamp for a burglar.

Meanwhile, Steenkamp’s family said her body was back in her hometown of Port Elizabeths. A private funeral will be held on Tuesday, local time.

Adam Steenkamp, the brother of Pistorius' late girlfriend, said "Reeva is back home".

The family said she will be cremated in a ceremony closed to the public and the media in the city on South Africa's southern coast.

The 29-year-old was seen laughing and smiling on South African television on Saturday night (local time) after national broadcaster SABC chose to air the first episode of a reality TV show in which she was featured. Her family said it did not oppose the programme being aired because Steenkamp wanted people to see it and a short tribute to her was shown before the episode.

A fellow contestant on the Tropika Island of Treasure 5 show told AP Television News that Steenkamp "was always making sure everyone was OK".

"Fun, crazy, loving, beautiful, gorgeous. She really was an angel and I still haven't come to terms with what happened," Katleho Molai said of Steenkamp. "I haven't really eaten, I'm struggling to sleep. So it's been really hard to come to terms with what's happened to her."

Pistorius is being held in a Pretoria police station before the resumption of his bail hearing on Tuesday. He is "numb" with shock and grief, a statement said.

Several South African media reports have said Steenkamp was shot through the bathroom door and was hit four times - in the head, hip, arm and hand.

Police said on Thursday witnesses had heard disturbances at the home before the shots, adding that there had been previous incidents of a "domestic nature" at the home.

The shooting has shocked South Africa, where Pistorius was revered as a hero whose achievements transcended the racial divides that linger in Nelson Mandela's "Rainbow Nation" 19 years after the end of apartheid.

The disbelief was felt across the globe among the millions who saw in Pistorius the ultimate tale of triumph over adversity - a man who rose to the highest pinnacles of athletics despite having no lower legs.

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He was born without either fibula but reached the semi-final of the 400-metres in the London 2012 Olympics, running on high-technology carbon fibre prosthetic 'blades'. He also won two Paralympic gold medals and one silver medal.

Although the public image was of a charming and easy-going young man, a Twitter posting by Pistorius in November paints the picture of a would-be action man obsessed with security.

"Nothing like getting home to hear the washing machine on and thinking its an intruder to go into full combat recon mode into the pantry! waa," read the Tweet on the morning of November 27.

Police recovered a 9mm pistol from his home after the shooting. The Afrikaans-language Beeld newspaper said Pistorius had a licence for one firearm and applications pending for a further seven, including a semi-automatic rifle.

- Stuff, Reuters, AP

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