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Pistorius ‘certainly not suicidal’: uncle


(AFP/File, Alexander Joe)

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) — Paralympic sprint champion Oscar Pistorius is in deep mourning after killing his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day, but is “certainly not suicidal” his family said Monday.

“Oscar, broken as he currently is, believes he has a purpose in life and is working towards that. Media reports to the contrary are untrue,” said his uncle Arnold Pistorius.

The 26-year-old double amputee was earlier said by a friend to be “on the verge of suicide” as he fights a charge of premeditated murder for shooting dead Reeva Steenkamp at his Pretoria home.

According to a close friend, the sprinter’s state of mind had worsened since he was tasked with selling his racehorses to raise money to pay for his spiralling legal fees.

“I would say that, just speaking to him, that he is a broken man and that I would go as far to say that he would be on the verge of suicide. It really worries me,” the friend Mike Azzie told an upcoming BBC3 documentary.

In a statement, the Pistorius family said it did not deny that “Oscar’s legal expenses are massive and that he has sold off some of his investments, including his racehorses”.

But it said that the costs will be evaluated on “a day-to-day basis” and decisions then made.

Earlier, a family spokesman said Pistorius was planning to sell the luxury home in a gated community where he shot Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door on Valentine’s Day.

“He has signalled his intention to sell (the house), but nothing has been done pro-actively to start the process,” family spokesman Johan van Wyk told the SAPA news agency.

The 26-year-old is out on bail and last week lodged a notice of appeal against his release conditions before he returns to court in June.

“Of course Oscar will never be the same, having to live with the knowledge that he caused the death of the woman he loved,” said his uncle.

However, the six time Paralympic gold medal winner was “coping as best he can with the support of his loved ones”.

While prosecutors argue that Steenkamp’s killing was premeditated, Pistorius has claimed it was an accident and that he mistook the 29-year-old model and law graduate for an intruder.

Last week, he lodged an appeal to the conditions of his release on bail, arguing that the court-imposed restrictions on international travel and alcohol use should be lifted.

The legal papers lodged in Pretoria and seen by AFP argue that the bail conditions set down last month target him as a flight risk despite the court having ruled this out.

Pistorius wants to be able to leave South Africa with the permission of the investigating officer and by providing a return air ticket and itinerary.

A ban on alcohol and drugs and random testing is also targeted.

“There is no desire by the appellant to use any prohibited substance or alcohol, but the condition imposed is not warranted or substantiated by the facts,” he argues.

His supervision by probation and prisons department officers was also said to have no basis.

Pistorius also wants access to the Pretoria house where Steenkamp was shot.

He argues that a “blanket restriction on speaking to residents is unfair” and could jeopardise his defence.




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