Pistorius plans memorial for girlfriend

CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA AND RAF CASERT
Last updated 07:21 27/02/2013
Oscar Pistorius in court
MURDER CHARGE: Oscar Pistorius reportedly wants to resume training while on bail.

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"Blade Runner" athlete Oscar Pistorius is planning a personal memorial service for Reeva Steenkamp, the 29-year-old model he shot at his home on Valentine's Day.

The evening service would be at the Pretoria home of his uncle Arnold, where the Olympic athlete has been staying since he was released on bail awaiting trial on a premeditated murder charge.

Pistorius' reputation management firm said Pistorius had specifically requested the service ''as he remains in deep mourning for the loss of his partner Reeva," whom he says he shot by accident assuming an intruder had entered his home on February 14.

''Oscar has asked for a private service with people who share his loss, including his family members who knew and loved Reeva as one of their own," Vuma Reputation Management said in a statement.

Exactly a week ago, a memorial service was held for Steenkamp in the southern coast city of Port Elizabeth, where her body was cremated following a private service.

That same day, the bail hearing for Pistorius started in the nation's capital Pretoria.

It was unclear exactly what Pistorius' service would consist of or how many people would attend.

Prosecutors say the pair had an argument before Steenkamp was killed. Vuma said that Pistorius "continues to grieve" for her.

Vuma spokeswoman Janice Hills would not give any further details about the ceremony, saying it is "a private matter for the family."

Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair set bail for Pistorius at 1 million rand, around NZ$135,000. The 26-year-old track star was also ordered to hand over his passports, turn in any guns he owns and keep away from his upscale home in a gated community in Pretoria, the scene of the crime.

He cannot leave the district of Pretoria without his probation officer's permission and is not allowed to consume drugs or alcohol.

Nair himself was in private mourning after confirming he is related to a woman suspected of killing her two children and committing suicide on the weekend.

The revelation was the latest twist in the saga of Pistorius and prominent figures linked to the case against the double-amputee athlete.

The bodies of a woman and her two sons were found Sunday evening at their Johannesburg home by her ex-husband, police Warrant Officer Balan Muthan said. Authorities suspect the woman administered a substance that killed her children, and took her own life by ingesting it as well.

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"I can confirm the deceased is my first cousin," Nair said in a telephone interview.

The woman's brother, Vishal Maharaj, identified her as Anusha Maharaj. Police said Maharaj was her family name before she married. South African media identified her as Anusha Mooljee.

Muthan said police suspect "she took her own life by ingesting a substance that killed her," and that she "most probably" gave the same substance to her children. Autopsies were conducted Monday and toxicologists were analysing the substance believed to have killed the three family members.

Suicide notes were found and a murder investigation was underway, Muthan said. He said copies of the notes were admitted as evidence in the probe and declined to comment on the contents.

Eyewitness News, a South African media outlet, said the boys who died were 12 and 17 years old and cited neighbor Claire Osment as saying she rushed outside after hearing screams coming from the townhouse where they lived.

"We asked what happened. The dad just said, 'She has killed my boys.' He was just crying," Eyewitness News quoted her as saying. "He couldn't believe it, he couldn't believe that his sons are gone." 

- AP

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