South African Olympic and Paralympic blade runner, Oscar Pistorius, 26, was arrested on Thursday following the death of his girlfriend, 30 year old model who was shot dead at his home in Pretoria, police said.
Pistorius has now been charged with murder as police confirmed that a woman had been found dead at the scene in the upmarket Silver Woods gated community east of the capital.
Although initial reports in the South African media claim in was an accident as Pistorius’ girlfriend was allegedly shot as she woke him, trying to surprise him on Valentine’s Day, new reports claim it is now a murder case.
“We found a 9 millimetre pistol at the scene. A 26-year-old man was taken into custody,” police spokeswoman Katlego Mogale said. She declined to give any further details.
He is expected to appear at Pretoria Magistrate’s Court later this afternoon on a murder charge.
Johannesburg’s Talk Radio 702 said Pistorius was understood to have shot his girlfriend in the head and arm, although the circumstances surrounding the incident were unclear. He may have mistaken her for a burglar, the radio report said. Pistorius, who races wearing carbon fibre prosthetic blades after he was born without a fibula in both legs, was the first double amputee to run in the Olympics and reached the 400 metre semifinals in London 2012.
However, things did not go smoothly in the Paralympics with Pistorius suffering his first loss over 200 metres in nine years. After the race, he sullied his media darling persona by questioning the legitimacy of Brazilian winner Alan Oliveira’s prosthetic blades. The comments sparked controversy though Pistorius was quick to express his regret, going on to describe 100 metres champion Jonnie Peacock of Britain as a “great Paralympic sprinter”.
South Africa has some of the world’s highest rates of violent crime and some home-owners carry weapons to defend themselves against intruders. Pistorius’ mobile phone went straight to voicemail on Thursday. There was also no response from his agent.