• Athletics

Bloodied cricket bat reportedly found at Pistorius' home

ESPN staff
February 17, 2013 « England come up short against New Zealand | Chartbeat test »

Reports emerging from South Africa on Sunday morning claim a bloodied cricket bat was found at the home of Oscar Pistorius, who stands accused of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Steenkamp was shot dead at Pistorius' home on Thursday, and prosecutors levied a charge of premeditated murder at the Paralympic icon, who will return to court on Tuesday for his bail hearing.

Multiple gunshot wounds were found on the deceased, but the independent City Press newspaper is now claiming that police have uncovered a bloodstained cricket bat. The paper says Steenkamp's skull was fractured and a source is quoted as saying, "There was lots of blood on the bat."

Pistorius' family have spoken out in defence of the 26-year-old, with uncle Arnold telling media on Saturday: "After consulting with legal representatives, we deeply regret the allegation of premeditated murder. We have no doubt there is no substance to the allegation and that the state's own case, including its own forensic evidence, strongly refutes any possibility of a premeditated murder or indeed any murder at all."

There is no confirmation as to whether the bloodied bat was involved in the death of Steenkamp, but police have once again denied suggestions she could have been mistaken for an intruder. The City Press reports she was wearing a nightie at the time of the incident.

A memorial will be held for Steenkamp on Tuesday, the day that Pistorius returns to court to apply for bail. If the athlete is found guilty of premeditated murder, a life sentence is mandatory.

His family remain convinced the pair shared nothing but a loving relationship, saying: "All of us saw at first hand how close she had become to Oscar during that time and how happy they were. They had plans together and Oscar was happier in his private life than he had been for a long time. We are all grieving for Reeva, her family and her friends.

"Oscar, as you can imagine, is also numb with shock as well as grief. Obviously at the same time we, as a family, are also battling to come to terms with Oscar being charged with murder."

Later on Sunday, Peet Van Zyl, from Pistorius' management company, issued a statement saying "we have no option but to cancel all future races that Oscar Pistorius had been contracted to compete in".

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