Doubt cast over weapon in Steenkamp killing
A blood-stained cricket bat found at the home of murder accused Oscar Pistorius has emerged as a crucial piece of evidence in the investigation into his model girlfriend’s death, a South African newspaper reported yesterday.
Quoting an unnamed police source, City Press newspaper said investigating officers were looking into a number of scenarios that could have led to the death of Reeva Steenkamp at the Paralympic athlete’s home last week.
Until the weekend it was believed that gunshot wounds were the cause of death, but sources told the newspaper the 29-year-old’s skull had also been crushed.
Ms Steenkamp was found dead at Mr Pistorius’s home in the early hours of last Thursday morning, and he has since been charged with her murder.
She was shot four times and a handgun owned by the accused was found at the scene.
Investigating officers are trying to ascertain if the bat was used to assault the deceased, if she used it to defend herself from attack or if it was used to break down the bathroom door.
Police have dismissed initial suggestions that Mr Pistorius (26) could have mistaken his girlfriend for a burglar.
CCTV footage shows her entering the athlete’s home at 6pm the night before she died and she is not seen leaving again. She was also wearing a nightie at the time of her death.
“The suspicion is that the first shot, in the bedroom, hit her in the hip. “She then ran and hid herself in the toilet . . . He fired three more shots,” a police source told City Press.
Mr Pistorius, one of South Africa’s most popular celebrities due to his feats on the athletics’ track running on carbon fibre blades, is due to apply for bail at a court hearing in Pretoria tomorrow. His family and management company have indicated he will plead not guilty to the charge of premeditated murder.
A memorial service for Ms Steenkamp is scheduled to take place in Port Elizabeth, her hometown, tomorrow.
The case has attracted international media attention due to the celebrity status of the couple involved and the gruesome circumstances surrounding the tragic event.
Mr Pistorius became an international star last summer in London as the first double-amputee ever to participate in the Olympics.
Yesterday police denied they were behind the information leak to City Press and called for an investigation into who was responsible.
Lieutenant colonel Katlego Mogale said she was “not at liberty” to say whether the information was accurate, or if it came from the police docket.
Alleged phone call
The article also claimed Mr Pistorius allegedly made a phone call to his father in the early hours of the morning asking him to come to the house.
When his family arrived, he was carrying his girlfriend’s lifeless body down the stairs.
Mr Pistorius allegedly told them he thought she was a burglar who had entered the house.