Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp, shown in this November
file photo, had bene planning a future together Pistorius'
uncle said. REUTERS/Frennie Shivambu/JustusMedia
South African Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius, known
as the "Blade Runner", was planning a future with the
girlfriend he is accused of shooting dead this week, his uncle
Pistorius, 26, one of the world's most recognisable athletes,
was charged on Friday with murdering swimsuit model and law
graduate Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of the previous
He broke down during a 40-minute bail hearing at a Pretoria
court but was not asked to enter a plea.
"They had plans together and Oscar was happier in his private
life than he had been for a long time," Anthony Pistorius
said in a statement released by his nephew's agent.
"We are in a state of total shock - firstly about the tragic
death of Reeva who we had all got to know well and care for
deeply over the last few months," he said. "All of us saw at
first hand how close she had become to Oscar during that time
and how happy they were."
The suggestion that Pistorius' family was close to Steenkamp
runs counter to comments from Pistorius' father, Henke, who
told the New York Times he had never met his son's
"I don't discuss my son's relationships. I have, in fact, not
met the lady," he was quoted as saying.
Prosecutors alleged the shooting was premeditated, a charge
that could put Pistorius behind bars for life if convicted.
Police have said there are no other suspects and the pair
were the only people in the house at the time. Initial
reports suggested he may have mistaken her for an intruder.
Anthony Pistorius reiterated the family's belief that the
track star - a double amputee who became one of the biggest
names in world athletics when he ran at last year's Olympics
- had not shot Steenkamp deliberately.
"After consulting with legal representatives we deeply regret
the allegation of premeditated murder," Anthony said.
"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."
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, the 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 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.
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 Nov.
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
Police declined to comment on the Beeld report.
"We're releasing nothing," spokeswoman Katelgo Mogale said.
"Details of the incident will come out in court."