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  • 16 July 2014, 8:49

Pistorius Engaging In 'Self-Harming Behaviour'

The family of Oscar Pistorius have said the athlete has engaged in "self-harming behaviour" as they hit out at claims he was involved in a nightclub brawl.

The athlete's uncle spoke out about his fragile emotional state as he dismissed reports that he poked a man in the chest during an altercation in Johannesburg.

Pistorius has denied getting into a "bar brawl" with Jared Mortimer, who he claims "aggressively interrogated" him in the city's VIP Room club about his trial.

Leo Pistorius said the family felt compelled to challenge "outrageous claims" made about the incident, which happened days after the final evidence was heard in his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He said: "Whilst Oscar venturing out into a public space with his cousin, in the current climate and whilst his court case is still under way, was unwise, those of us closest to him have been witness to his escalating sense of loneliness and alienation.

"This, we believe, is underlying some of his self-harming behaviour.

"As a family we are counselling Oscar to find ways to deal with his feelings of isolation.

"At the same time however, we cannot allow one man's untrue version of what happened to stand unchallenged."

Mr Pistorius denied his nephew was the aggressor in the incident and claimed witnesses could back him up.

He added: "We do however believe that Oscar is grappling with an extreme level of emotional pain that is manifesting itself in some of his recent unwise actions and choices."

Reports of the row emerged after Pistorius broke his silence on social media by posting a series of messages on Twitter.

He posted a collage of himself posing with children and a passage about how a man in "utter desolation" can still "achieve fulfilment".

Pistorius, 27, claims he heard an intruder in his house and was "in fear for his life" when he approached a closed toilet door and fired four shots through it, killing Ms Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day in 2013.

The double-amputee, known as the Blade Runner, will be back at Pretoria High Court on August 7 for closing arguments before the judge retires to consider the verdict, which could take several weeks.

He faces between 25 years and life in prison if found guilty.

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