Investigators have discovered what they say is a pivotal piece of evidence in their case against South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, who was charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, earlier this week. A bloody cricket bat was found in the double amputee’s Pretoria home over the weekend. The new evidence may contradict Pistorius’ claim that Steenkamp’s death was accidental.
Pistorius told police that he had mistaken Steenkamp for a burglar and shot her, but an autopsy revealed that the 29-year-old model had suffered a fractured skull along with bullet wounds to her hip, arm, hand and head. Before the police finding, a statement from the Pistorius family had criticized the lack of evidence in the case against the Paralympic sprinter known as “Blade Runner.”
“We have no doubt there is no substance to the allegation and that the State’s case, including its own forensic evidence, strongly refutes any possibility of premeditated murder or indeed any murder at all,” the statement read, as the family promised to combat the murder charge “in the strongest terms.”
Police requested that Pistorius be tested for steroid use, suggesting that the incident may have been the result of “roid rage.” Authorities reportedly recovered a bullet casing and gun holster in the couple’s bedroom, and believe that Pistorius may have shot Steenkamp in the hip there, before chasing her into a bathroom. There, police speculate that she attempted to cover her head with her hands while Pistorius fired at her, leading to the wound in her hand as well.
Pistorius remains in police custody, and will appear in court for a bail hearing Tuesday. He has been charged with premeditated murder by the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court. Steenkamp’s father, Barry Steenkamp, said that while his family is struggling to cope with their loss, they bear no resentment toward Pistorius.
“He must be going through things that we don’t know about,” the elder Steenkamp told the Mail on Sunday. “We ask the Lord every day to help us find a reason why this should happen to Reeva. There is no hatred in our hearts.”