Oscar Pistorius is to appear in court charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who is understood to have been shot at the Paralympic star’s home in the early hours of this morning.
Police speaking outside the secure housing complex in Pretoria where the 26-year-old athlete lives said they would be opposing bail and were ‘surprised’ at local media reports Ms Steenkamp, 30 had been shot after being mistaken for an intruder.
Officers have been unable to confirm that Pistorius had been charged with murder and that his model girlfriend had been killed, saying only that a 26-year-old man was in custody and a 30-year-old ‘friend’ had been shot.
However, spokeswoman Denise Beukes said that reports of domestic violence had previously been received from Pistorius’s house.
It is understood that Pistorius is due before magistrates at 2pm local time (12noon UK time), while Ms Steenkamp’s family have not yet been able to identify her.
Initial reports said that Ms Steenkamp, thought to have been shot four times with a 9mm pistol recovered from the scene, had been mistaken for a burglar, possibly during a Valentine’s Day surprise that went tragically wrong.
But police said that there had been no reports of a break-in at the Silverwoods Country Estate in Pretoria, which is protected by 24-hour armed guards.
Ms Beukes told journalists outside the residential complex that there were no other suspects involved and that the arrested man – understood to be Pistorius – would be undergoing routine blood alcohol tests.
She said neighbours who reported shouting and screaming before the shooting were being interviewed and added that the suspect had requested a fast-track appearance before magistrates today.
‘This is an ongoing investigation,’ Ms Beukes continued. ‘It would be premature and irresponsible at this time to say exactly what happened.’
Pistorius is known as the Blade Runner because of the ground-breaking prosthetics he uses for racing.
He made history at the London 2012 Olympics when he became the first amputee sprinter to compete in the Games, running in the 400m and 4x400m relay.
The Johannesburg-born athlete, who was born without fibulas in his legs and had the limbs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old, had to win a legal battle over his blades with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in 2008 for the right to compete in able-bodied competition.
South Africa has some of the world’s highest rates of violent crime and some home-owners carry weapons to defend themselves against intruders.