Pistorius charged with murder

  • Last Updated: February 15 2013, 8:38 GMT

Oscar Pistorius, the world's most famous Paralympian, is due to appear in court on a murder charge on Friday morning.

Pistorius: Woman dead after a shooting at his home

The sprinter, nicknamed the Blade Runner because of the prosthetic limbs he uses, was arrested on Thursday after his girlfriend died from gunshot wounds at his house in Pretoria, South Africa.

Police spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale said: "The suspect that was arrested this morning for the alleged shooting of a woman will appear at Pretoria Magistrates Court tomorrow morning on a charge of murder."

Pistorius, 26, a 400metres gold medallist at the London 2012 Paralympics and the first double amputee to compete at the Olympics, is alleged to have killed his 30-year-old model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

South Africa Police spokeswoman Brigadier Denise Beukes said officers were aware of media reports the death may have been an accident, caused by suspicions of a break-in, but said that those reports did not come from information provided by police.

"There was no sign of forced entry or persons who weren't supposed to be there at this stage," she said.

"The South African Police Service was surprised to hear allegations on the radio this morning that the deceased had been perceived to be a burglar. The allegations did not come from us.

"The deceased was a friend of his."

She added: "There are witnesses and they have also been interviewed this morning.

"We're talking about neighbours and people that heard things that happened earlier in the evening and when the shooting took place."

Forensic tests were continuing on the premises.

Police will oppose any bail application on Friday and said at this stage there is no other suspect involved.

Beukes added: "There were only two people on the premises: the resident and the deceased."

Pistorius is a national hero in South Africa and the world's biggest star in Paralympic sport. The sprinter won two gold medals and a silver at the London 2012 Paralympics.

Brigadier Beukes said police were aware of previous incidents at the house where Pistorius lives.

She said: "I can't confirm that it's related to the person who has been arrested, but I can confirm there has previously been incidents at the home of Mr Oscar Pistorius."

Asked what they had been, Brigadier Beukes said they were "of allegations of a domestic nature".

A spokesperson for Pistorius from the Fast Track agency in London said that the athlete was "assisting the police with their investigations".

A statement from the International Paralympic Committee offered condolences to the families involved.

It said: "Following the news of the alleged shooting incident involving South African athlete Oscar Pistorius this morning, the International Paralympic Committee will not be passing any comment on the case at this time.

"This is a police matter, with a formal investigation currently under way. Therefore it would be inappropriate for the IPC to comment on this incident until the official police process has concluded. The IPC would like to offer its deepest sympathy and condolences to all families involved in this case."

Athletes who woke up to the news reacted with shock.

Great Britain's gold medal-winning heptathlete Jessica Ennis said on Twitter: "Woken up to the horrendous news about Oscar Pistorius... What an awful tragedy."

Former 400m sprinter Iwan Thomas said on Twitter: "I am in total shock to hear the news about athlete and friend Oscar, my thoughts are with him and all involved. That's all I have to say."

Katharine Merry, bronze medallist in the 400m at the Sydney Games, said: "One of the nicest guys , true gent....omg.....in shock for oscar and this situation. Imagine, just imagine..."