Wed, Mar 13, 2013 - Page 20 News List

Oscar Pistorius ‘certainly not suicidal,’ uncle says

AFP, JOHANNESBURG

Paralympic sprint champion Oscar Pistorius is in deep mourning after killing his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day, but is “certainly not suicidal” his family said on Monday.

“Oscar, broken as he currently is, believes he has a purpose in life and is working towards that. Media reports to the contrary are untrue,” his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said.

The 26-year-old double amputee was earlier said by a friend to be “on the verge of suicide” as he fights a charge of premeditated murder for shooting dead Reeva Steenkamp at his Pretoria home.

According to a close friend, the sprinter’s state of mind had worsened since he was tasked with selling his racehorses to raise money to pay for his spiralling legal fees.

“I would say that, just speaking to him, that he is a broken man and that I would go as far to say that he would be on the verge of suicide. It really worries me,” the friend Mike Azzie told an upcoming BBC3 documentary.

In a statement, the Pistorius family said it did not deny that “Oscar’s legal expenses are massive and that he has sold off some of his investments, including his racehorses.”

However, it said that the costs will be evaluated on “a day-to-day basis” and decisions then made.

Earlier, a family spokesman said Oscar Pistorius was planning to sell the luxury home in a gated community where he shot Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door.

“He has signalled his intention to sell [the house], but nothing has been done pro-actively to start the process,” family spokesman Johan van Wyk told the SAPA news agency.

Oscar Pistorius is out on bail and last week lodged a notice of appeal against his release conditions before he returns to court in June, arguing that the court-imposed restrictions on international travel and alcohol use should be lifted.

The legal papers lodged in Pretoria argue that the bail conditions set down last month target him as a flight risk despite the court having ruled this out.

Oscar Pistorius wants to be able to leave South Africa with the permission of the investigating officer and by providing a return air ticket and itinerary.

A ban on alcohol and drugs and random testing is also targeted.

“There is no desire by the appellant to use any prohibited substance or alcohol, but the condition imposed is not warranted or substantiated by the facts,” he argues.

His supervision by probation and prisons department officers was also argued to have no basis.

Pistorius also wants access to the Pretoria house where Steenkamp was shot.

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