Pistorius is `numb with shock`, says his uncle

Last Updated: Feb 16, 2013, 23:32 PM IST

Pretoria: A day after he issued a strong denial against premeditated murder of his model girlfriend, Oscar Pistorius’ uncle said on Saturday that the Paralympian superstar is "numb with shock, as well as grief" after the shooting death of his girlfriend at his home in South Africa.

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Reeva Steenkamp was shot four times on the morning of Valentine`s Day. Pistorius’ uncle Arnold spoke to reporters from his three-story home in the eastern suburbs of South Africa`s capital, Pretoria.

The statement, the first on camera and directly made in person by Pistorius` family, also came out strongly against prosecutors seeking to upgrade the charge against Pistorius to one of premeditated murder, which carries a sentence of life in prison.

"After consulting with legal representatives, we deeply regret the allegation of premeditated murder," Arnold Pistorius said. "We have no doubt there is no substance to the allegation and that the state`s own case, including its own forensic evidence, strongly refutes any possibility of a premeditated murder."

Protius’ arrest in the killing of 29-year-old Steenkamp shocked South Africa, where Pistorius was a national hero dubbed the ‘Blade Runner’ for his high-tech prosthetics and revered for overcoming his disability to compete in the London Games.

Pistorius remains held at a police station pending a bail hearing Tuesday.

Arnold Pistorius did not discuss the circumstances of the shooting, but said that his nephew and Steenkamp had become very close since they started dating in November. "They had plans together and Oscar was happier in his private life than he had been for a long time," the uncle said.