sport

Pistorius charged with murder

Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius has been charged with murder following the death of his girlfriend on Thursday morning.

Oscar Pistorius will now not appear in court on a murder charge until Friday, police in South Africa have confirmed.

The Paralympic champion, nicknamed the Blade Runner because of the prosthetic limbs he uses, is in custody after his girlfriend died from gunshot wounds at his house.

Police spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale said: "The suspect will appear at Pretoria Magistrates Court tomorrow after the State Attorney asked for more time to look at the case."

Pistorius, 26, a 400 metres gold medallist at the London 2012 Paralympics and the first double amputee to compete at the Olympics, is alleged to have killed his 30-year-old girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who died of gunshot wounds at an address in the city.

Police spokeswoman Brigadier Denise Beukes said at a press conference: "A 26-year-old man has been arrested and has been charged with murder."

Brigadier Beukes said police were aware of media reports the death may have been an accident, caused by suspicions of a break-in, but said that those reports did not come from information provided by police.

"There was no sign of forced entry or persons who weren't supposed to be there at this stage," she said.

"The South African Police Service was surprised to hear allegations on the radio this morning that the deceased had been perceived to be a burglar. The allegations did not come from us.

"The deceased was a friend of his."

She added: "There are witnesses and they have also been interviewed this morning.

"We're talking about neighbours and people that heard things that happened earlier in the evening and when the shooting took place."

Forensic tests were continuing on the premises.

Police will oppose any bail application on Friday and said at this stage there is no other suspect involved.

Beukes added: "There were only two people on the premises: the resident and the deceased."

Pistorius is a national hero in South Africa and the world's biggest star in Paralympic sport. The sprinter won two gold medals and a silver at the London 2012 Paralympics.

Brigadier Beukes said police were aware of previous incidents at the house where Pistorius lives.

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

Asked what they had been, Brigadier Beukes said they were "of allegations of a domestic nature".

A spokesperson for Pistorius from the Fast Track agency in London said the athlete was "assisting the police with their investigations".