In Brief

Oscar Pistorius: bloody cricket bat 'central' to murder case

Latest claims suggest Reeva Steenkamp was 'chased' through house and suffered a fractured skull

THE DISCOVERY of a bloodied cricket bat at the home of sprinter Oscar Pistorius has added to the mystery surrounding the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot dead in his house on Valentine's Day. The South African press have quoted police saying that as well as being shot in the hand, hip, arm and head, Steenkamp also suffered a fractured skull. The discovery of the bloodstained bat, which Pistorius kept in his bedroom, is now said to be "central" to the prosecution's case. "If the blood [on the bat] is that of Miss Steenkamp, it would strengthen the prosecution case for premeditated murder," says the Daily Telegraph. "If it came from Pistorius, police would argue that the model used it to defend herself." The South African paper City Press says police have "ruled out" the possibility that Pistorius mistook his girlfriend for an intruder. It says the authorities have a "rock-solid" case against the iconic 'Blade Runner', who last year became the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics as well as the Paralympics. The paper claims to have pieced together the events of Thursday morning and argues that Pistorius may have "chased" Steenkamp through the house during the attack. "The suspicion is that the first shot, in the bedroom, hit her in the hip," a police source told the paper. "She then ran and locked herself in the toilet. She was doubled over because of the pain. He fired three more shots. She probably covered her head, which is why the bullet also went through her hand." Afterwards it is claimed Pistorius made a series of hysterical phone calls to friends and relatives. When the athlete's family arrived, he was carrying Steenkamp down the stairs, where he tried unsuccessfully to revive her through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Pistorius has cancelled all future races in order to concentrate on clearing his name. The Times says the decision reinforces "the possibility that he will never run competitively again".

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