South African police have found a bloodied cricket bat at Oscar Pistorius’ home following the shooting of his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day, it has been reported.
The global athletic star – dubbed the blade runner because of his artificial legs - has been charged with the murder of model Reeva Steenkamp , 29.
She was fatally shot at his Pretoria home and he is due to reappear in court next week. Mr Pistorius is due to apply for bail on Tuesday, the same day a memorial service for his girlfriend is held.
The Paralympian and Olympian faces a life sentence if convicted of premeditated murder as state prosecutors claim – but has vowed to fight the charge.
Police sources told the independent City Press paper that Ms Steenkamp’s skull had been “crushed”, reported the AFP news agency.
“There was lots of blood on the bat,” one source told the newspaper.
Police are said to be looking at whether the bat was used to attack Ms Steenkamp or if she used it to defend herself.
City Press said she was wearing a nightie at the time of the shooting with police casting doubt on initial suggestions that Pistorius, 26, might have mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder.
A police source told City Press: “The suspicion is that the first shot, in the bedroom, hit her in the hip. She then ran and hid herself in the toilet... He fired three more shots.”
The paper also reportedly claimed that police asked for blood taken from the athlete to be tested for steroids because of the possibility of his defence team claiming he acted in "roid rage" - an aggressive condition linked with taking large amounts of performance enhancing drugs.
The holster of a 9mm pistol, similar to the weapon recovered by police, is also said to have been found on one side of the bed, along with a bullet cartridge in the bedroom.
Another report suggested that she was sitting on a toilet when she was hit four times in the arm, head, hip and finger by three bullets fired through the bathroom door – with police removing the door as evidence.
It also said that it was thought the model was still alive as her boyfriend carried her downstairs and tried to revive her with the kiss of life.
In a further development, Mr Pistorius called his best friend moments after his girlfriend was shot instead of the emergency services and later sobbed: “I’ve killed my baba.”
Details of the call to businessman Justin Divaris, who introduced Reeva Steenkamp to Mr Pistorius, were reported by the Sunday People.
Justin, 27, told the paper that it was “all very sad” and that Oscar had called him at 3.55am saying that Reeva had been shot.
“I said to him, ‘What are you talking about? I don’t understand you?’ He then repeated himself – ‘There has been a terrible accident, I shot Reeva’.
“Next thing his neighbour picked up the phone and told me it was true and told me to get to Oscar’s home,” said Mr Divaris.
“I was in total shock. I asked the neighbour, ‘Is she OK?’ Did the gun go off by accident?’ She replied, ‘No. She’s not OK. You need to get here’.”
The businessman and his girlfriend Sam headed to athlete’s luxury home on a security-patrolled estate.
The police were already there and holding Mr Pistorius in his garage.
As a crime scene, they were not allowed into the house – but could see the model through the door covered in blankets and towels at the bottom of the stairs.
But he was allowed to speak to his friend for 10 minutes, who he described as incoherent and “just kept saying, ‘My baba, I’ve killed my baba. God take me away’. He must have been sobbing there for a whole hour.”
Mr Divaris, chief executive of luxury car sales firm Daytona Group, also told the Sunday People: “I don’t understand exactly what happened but the truth will come out.”
The newspaper also reported that Ms Steenkamp is said to have complained that her boyfriend was becoming possessive. The couple had been dating since November.
It said she arrived at Mr Pistorius’ house at 7pm and several hours before the shooting, neighbours complained to the estate’s security guards about loud noise from the property and asked them to stop it.
It's also reported that Mr Pistorius called his father and sister, asking them to come to the house at around 3.20am on Thursday. His sibling, Aimee, is said to have told police that her brother told he had fired at what he thought was an intruder
A further report has suggested that Ms Steenkamp was in a “close friendship” with a rugby star when she was fatally shot.
Reports in South Africa linked her with Springbok Francois Hougaard, 24, who is also friends with Mr Pistorius, said the Sunday Mirror.
Investigators are looking at whether the friendship may have sparked rows heard in the hours leading up to the shooting.
Members of both families have spoken following the shooting.
The athlete’s father Henke, 59, told the Sunday Telegraph that his family had “zero doubt” that his son had shot his girlfriend mistakenly thinking she was an intruder. He suggested his son acted on “instinct”.
His family has pledged to do what it takes to clear his name, releasing a statement to say the athlete was “numb with shock as well as grief” over recent events.
They said he had no reason to harm his girlfriend and that the evidence gathered by police “strongly refutes” any possibility of a premeditated murder charge.
Meanwhile, Ms Steenkamp’s father, Barry, told the Mail on Sunday that he bore no animosity towards his daughter’s boyfriend.
He said he was struggling “to find some reason why this happened to our lovely daughter”.