Oscar Pistorius arrested over fatal shooting of girlfriend, charged with murder

South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has been arrested and charged with murder over the fatal shooting of his girlfriend at his home in Pretoria.

Police said a 26-year-old man was in custody and a case of murder was being investigated.

The precise circumstances surrounding the incident are unclear. Reports say he may have mistaken her for a burglar. [UPDATE: police did not circulate these reports and their origins are unclear. In fact, the couple had a history of previous domestic incidents - x]

Popularly known as "blade runner", Pistorius was born without a fibula in both legs. He won a key legal battle in 2008, when athletics' governing body, the IAAF, allowed him to compete against able-bodied athletes. He then made history in London 2012 by becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete in the Olympics. He apologised after claiming that his rival, Brazilian Alan Oliveira, was wearing blades that were too long in the 2012 Paralympics 200m final.

He is no stranger to reports of domestic violence. Brigadier Denise Beukes, who is on the case, said there had been previous incidents and “allegations of a domestic nature” at the home of the Olympic star and double-amputee runner, who is one of South Africa’s and the world’s most famous sportsmen and made history at the London Games last year by being the first double-amputee runner to compete at the Olympics.

“I’m not going to elaborate on it but there have been incidents [at Pistorius’ home],” Beukes said. [source] He has also had previous encounters with the law, and is well-known for his love of guns.

Nevertheless, news that he may have killed his girlfriend will shock the country as Pistorius is regarded as one of South Africa's national icons, reports the BBC's Peter Biles from Capetown. The incident is said to have taken place between 04:00 and 05:00 local time (02:00-03:00 GMT). The police statement said that a 30-year-old woman was "fatally wounded" in the early hours of Thursday morning at a home in the Silverlakes complex in the Boschkop area of the capital.

The woman had been wounded in her head and upper body. Paramedics were at the house when police arrived, but she died at the scene. A 9mm pistol was recovered.

South Africa has among the highest rates of crime in the world and many residents keep weapons to protect themselves against intruders.But the country also has a careful vetting process before awarding gun licenses, Erika Gibson of Beeld newspaper told the BBC.

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee said it had been inundated with questions over the incident, but was in no position to comment.

Ed Warner, head of UK Athletics also reiterated that little was known about the incident but described the reports as "shocking and very sad," adding that: "Pistorius is one of the great icons of Paralympic athletics but also of able-bodied athletics too".


UPDATE: He has since been charged with murder and is in court today. source

RIP Reeva Steenkamp

I'm sorry to other people who posted better versions of this! I posted this in the morning before leaving for work, and the news changed when I was away. I didn't think it would be accepted, but I've updated the post now - thank you, clarelove!