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Pistorius held over lover 'murder'

Olympic and Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius is due to appear in court on Friday after being arrested on suspicion of murdering his girlfriend after she was shot dead at his home.

Gold-medal winner Pistorius, known as Blade Runner for his prosthetic racing legs, was taken into custody on Thursday morning over the killing of Reeva Steenkamp.

The 30-year-old was shot in the head and upper body.

As Pistorius was detained for questioning, police said there had been previous incidents of a "domestic nature" at the property on the exclusive, gated Silver Lakes Golf Estate in the South African capital Pretoria.

Initial reports suggested the model may have been mistaken for a burglar, but Brigadier Denise Beukes later said police were "very surprised" by that suggestion, adding: "These allegations did not come from us."

Brig Beukes said there was no sign of forced entry at the house.

She said: "I can't confirm that it's related to the person that's arrested but I can confirm there has previously been incidents at the home of Mr Oscar Pistorius."

Police spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale told the South African Press Association: "Paramedics declared the woman dead on the scene and police proceeded with their investigation.

"The woman sustained wounds to her head and the upper body."

A 9mm pistol was recovered.

According to unconfirmed reports, four shots were fired.

Police said an application for bail by Pistorius's lawyer Kenny Oldwage would be opposed when he appears in court.

Initial rumours suggested the shooting may have been a Valentine's Day surprise gone wrong.

The couple had only been going out since November.

Miss Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, yesterday tweeted about Valentine's Day: "What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow??? #getexcited #ValentinesDay."

Dressed in a grey hooded jacket, tracksuit trousers and trainers, Pistorius, 26, this morning walked with head bowed from the Boschkop police station before being taken to Pretoria's Mamelodi Day Hospital in a police convoy.

Brig Beukes said the medical examination was "standard procedure".

"They (hospital staff) test under the nails, they look for scratches, bruises, and blood is taken for alcohol and drug screening."

Pistorius's spokesman, from the Fast Track agency in London, said he was "assisting the police with their investigations" but no further comment could be made until matters became clearer.

Pistorius appeared to have serious concerns about his safety and was said to sleep with a revolver by his side.

A journalist from the Daily Mail interviewed him last summer and noted: "This being South Africa, one baseball bat and one cricket bat lie behind Pistorius's bedroom door.

"A revolver is at his bedside.

"A machine gun by his window."

The athlete made history at the London 2012 Olympics becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete in the able-bodied Games, running in the 400m and 4x400m relay.

The star was born without fibulas and underwent below-the-knee amputations at just 11 months old.

He 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.

Pistorius's father said his son was "sad" following the shooting.

Henke Pistorius told SABC radio news: "I don't know the facts.

"If anyone makes a statement, it will have to be Oscar.

"He's sad at the moment."

The couple were dubbed the Posh and Becks of South Africa.

On her Twitter biography, Miss Steenkamp described herself as a "Model, Cover Girl, Tropika Island Of Treasure Celeb Contestant, Law Graduate, Child of God".

Tropika Island Of Treasure is a TV show she was due to appear on this weekend.

Miss Steenkamp's publicist Sarit Tomlinson paid tribute to her, saying she was "the sweetest human being and an absolute angel on earth".

She added: "She was the kindest, most unbelievable girl."

She told Sky News: "It's shocking.

"No one knows what happened.

"We're waiting for information.

"There are people we are waiting to speak to, to validate some of the stories."

Asked about Miss Steenkamp's relationship with Pistorius, Ms Tomlinson said: "They had been together for a couple of months and it's been a fabulous relationship - a healthy, fabulous relationship."

Miss Steenkamp's friend Mashadi Motsogi broke down in tears.

The distressed model said she heard the news of Miss Steenkamp's death on Twitter.

"I have lost a friend," she said, telling reporters that Miss Steenkamp's death in a secure complex did not make sense.

"Look, security here is safe.

"We moved to this area for security reasons.

"It does not make sense to me that my friend was shot, mistaken for an intruder."

Athletes joined fans in paying tribute to Miss Steenkamp.

Jessica Ennis spoke of her shock on Twitter, describing "the horrendous news" as "an awful tragedy".

Denise Lewis said: "Not a good morning athletics fans - News reports on Oscar Pistorius are unbelievable."

London 2012 Paralympic 200m champion Richard Whitehead tweeted: "Shocking news this morning regards my buddy Oscar P what a tragedy!!! Unbelievable I'm speechless #oscar."

Just three days ago, Pistorius tweeted his excitement about his first race of 2013, accompanied by a photograph of him in action.

He said: "1 month till my first race of 2013.. Can't wait to burn it up!"

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