South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius will be charged with murder after his girlfriend was shot dead in his home on Thursday morning.
Police confirmed Pistorius was at a local police station after 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp had earlier been found dead at his home.
They confirmed a 26-year-old man will appear in court on February 15. South African police do not usually name suspects until they appear in court.
Early reports from South Africa suggested that Steenkamp might have been planning to surprise Pistorius for Valentine’s Day and that he mistook her for an intruder. However, police said they were ‘surprised’ by this suggestion and added that there had been previous ‘allegations of a domestic nature’ at the address, as well as neighbours reporting hearing screaming and shouting around the time of the shooting.
The double amputee, known as the ‘Blade Runner’ was at the centre of one of the most controversial stories of the London 2012 Olympic Games after he became the first amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in the Games. He finished eighth in his 400m semi final and was part of the South African 4x400m relay team.
Pistorius returned to London for the Paralympic Games in September where he retained his 400m T44 title. However he was criticised after he implied that Alan Oliveira, the Brazilian runner who beat him in the 200-metre T44 final, was using prosthetic blades that gave him an unfair advantage.
The South African athlete was born without fibulas and had his lower legs amputated when he was 11 months old. He runs with carbon fibre prosthetic lower limbs. Pistorius holds numerous sponsorship deals and was named by Time as one of the world’s 100 most influential people.
The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee said it had been inundated with questions over the incident, but was in no position to comment.
Ed Warner, head of UK Athletics also reiterated that little was known about the incident but described the reports as ‘shocking and very sad’, adding that ‘Pistorius is one of the great icons of Paralympic athletics but also of able-bodied athletics too’.
The International Paralympic Committee also declined to comment on the matter as a police investigation is under way.