South African Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius has been charged with murder after his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, was found shot at his Pretoria home. Local police confirmed they had opened a murder investigation after a fatal shooting at the luxury Silver Lakes gated community, where Oscar lives. "We found a 9mm pistol at the scene. A 26-year-old man was taken into custody," a police spokeswoman said.
The athlete, pictured above leaving the police station, was expected to appear at Pretoria Magistrates later on Thursday.
Visiting his client, agent Peet van Zyl said: "I hope I can have access to him at the police station. At this point in time I can't give any details about what has happened." He added: "Oscar is a humble person and a lovely guy – I'm sure what's happened has been a terrible mistake but I really don't have the details at the moment."
Oscar was the poster boy for the London 2012 Paralympics, where he reached the 400m semi-finals. The double amputee races wearing carbon fibre prosthetic blades and his spirit and success have made him an inspiration in his native South Africa and around the world. His relationship with tragic Reeva, 30, was said to be in its early stages, but the model was clearly excited at the prospect of spending Valentine's Day with the sporting hero. Just a day before her death she was active on Twitter and asked: "What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow? #getexcited #Valentine'sDay."
And during an interview with the Sunday Times in South Africa last week she described her boyfriend as "an impeccable man who always has my best interests at heart".
Described as "an angel on earth," Reeva's PR agency have issued a statement confirming the model's death. "Our thoughts and prayers go to the Steenkamp family, who have asked to have their privacy respected during this difficult time, everyone is simply devastated. She was the kindest, sweetest human being; an angel on earth and will be sorely missed."
Oscar is set to appear in court on Friday to face the murder charges.