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Saturday, 16 February 2013
Oscar Pistorius - What do you believe?
Oscar Pistorius 'carried dying Reeva Steenkamp downstairs and tried to resuscitate her'
Oscar Pistorius carried his dying girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp downstairs from the bathroom where he allegedly shot her and performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in a desperate bid to save her life, according to a report in South Africa this morning.
Miss Steenkamp, 29, an FHM covergirl, is said to have still been breathing when security guards and neighbours arrived at Pistorius' house in the early hours of St Valentine's Day, but was pronounced dead by paramedics who arrived shortly afterwards.
Sources told Beeld, the Afrikaans language newspaper, that security guards who heard the shots and rushed to the house saw the Paralympic gold medalist was seen running down the stairs with the blonde model in his arms.
Paramedics who arrived shortly afterwards were unable to revive her.
She had been shot four times, in the head, chest and hand, through the bathroom door. Initial reports suggested Pistorius fired the fatal shots believing she was an intruder, although the claim has since been played down by police.
Pistorius is seen in the courtroom in Pretoria yesterday. (Reuters/EPA)
Neighbours and security guards at the exclusive Silver Woods Country Estate, to the east of Pretoria, are reported by Beeld to have heard Miss Steenkamp's last, ragged breaths.
Blood spatters ran along the route Pistorius is said to have carried his girlfriend as he sought help, and bloody towels lay on the floor where police found her when they arrived moments later, the paper said.
Forensic teams are still working at the luxury home of the double amputee, until this week one of South Africa's most celebrated heroes.
They are reported to have removed the bullet-marked bathroom door as evidence. According to the paper's source, they apparently believe that Miss Steenkamp was sitting on the lavatory when she was shot.
Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale refused to confirmor deny the claims when questioned by Beeld, saying they formed part of the police investigation.
Annie Kruger, Pistorius' cousin, said the family were all extremely worried about him.
Pistorius smiles at Reeva Steenkamp. (EPA)
"We are all very sad for him, the whole thing is terribly bad for him," she told Beeld. "We want the right things to happen (with reference to the legal process), but it feels like people are a little too hastily."
The athlete's brother Carl thanked friends for their support on Twitter, adding: "This tragedy has changed the landscape of our lives.”
Yesterday, Pistorius, 26, was shaking and broke down in tears as he was charged with premeditated murder at Pretoria magistrates' court. If convicted, he faces a life sentence of at least 25 years in a country with some of the most brutal prisons in the world.
Henke Pistorius reached out to comfort his son in court, telling The DailyTelegraph that he did not believe the accusations. "We just want this over with," he said. "Until it's proven otherwise, I can't believe that this was anything but a tragic accident."
Police said they were investigating claims that guards at Silver Woods Country Estate had gone to the house two hours before the shooting after neighbours reported a disturbance.
Detectives were also understood to have approached Samantha Taylor, a former girlfriend of Pistorius, who told a local newspaper last year that she was "prepared to reveal what Pistorius made me go through". According to her father, she was asked by police to testify against the athlete. Yesterday, friends of the double-amputee made a concerted effort to defend his character. Jenna Edkins, a business student in Johannesburg, wrote that she had dated Pistorius "on and off" for five years. "Not once has he ever lifted a finger to me [or] made me fearful for my life," she wrote on Twitter. "People must stop jumping on the bandwagon with such hurtful allegations. Os is the loving, amazing inspirational person we know him to be."
Her comments brought a response from Miss Taylor's sister, Kerri-Lee, who tweeted: "Jenna you are such a walk over. How can you support a guy that has taken an innocent life?"
Pistorius kept guns in his home, including a revolver by his bed, and was a regular at a local shooting range. "He grew up with firearms and went hunting all the time," said Henke Pistorius, but he denied that his son was gun-obsessed.
A police officer holds the gun allegedly used in the shooting. (Phill Magakoe, Pretoria News/AP)
A statement released by the family said he would fight the charge against him, saying: "The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms".
It added: "Oscar Pistorius has made history as an Olympic and Paralympic sportsman and has been an inspiration to others the world over. He has made it very clear that he would like to send his deepest sympathies to the family of Reeva.
"He would also like to express his thanks through us today for all the messages of support he has received, but as stated our thoughts and prayers today should be for Reeva and her family, regardless of the circumstances of this terrible, terrible tragedy."
The court will reconvene next Tuesday to decide whether to grant Pistorius bail until a full trial.
Until then, he will stay in a police cell in Pretoria, where his mental state was assessed by a psychologist. Brigadier Denise Beukes, a police spokesman, said he would receive "special visits on a regular basis".
Miss Steenkamp's body was formally identified by a close family friend on Friday and will be flown to her home town of Port Elizabeth, where a memorial service will be held on Tuesday, according to local reports.
Meanwhile it was confirmed that a reality television show featuring the model will be shown in South Africa as planned this weekend.
Tropika Island of Treasure was filmed in Jamaica and shows Miss Steenkamp and other celebrities competing for a prize of £73,000.