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Johannesburg - Murder accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius has not been suicidal since he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, his family said on Monday.
“Oscar, broken as he currently is, believes he has a purpose in life and is working towards that. Media reports to the contrary are untrue,” Pistorius' uncle Arnold said in a statement.
This was after Mike Azzie, reportedly a close friend of the family, said in a BBC3 documentary about Pistorius that “he could be on the verge of suicide”.
Arnold Pistorius said that since the family heard of the events of February 14 it had “worked hard to come to terms with the sad news of Reeva Steenkamp’s death and Oscar’s role in it”.
“As a family it drew us closer together, supporting and encouraging each other, praying for Oscar Ä whom we love and who remains our son, brother and nephew.”
He said the family was aware of the massive legal costs associated with Pistorius' defence against a charge of murder and that Pistorius had sold a number of his racehorses to help alleviate this financial burden.
“We are acutely aware of the fact that this is only the beginning of a long road to prove that, as we believe, Oscar never intended to harm Reeva Steenkamp. We also realise that the law must run its course, and we respect this process.”
Arnold said the family remained confident that in due course Steenkamp's death would be proved “a terrible and tragic accident, which has changed many lives forever”.
“Of course Oscar will never be the same, having to live with the knowledge that he caused the death of the woman he loved, but he is coping as best he can with the support of his loved ones,” his uncle said. - Sapa