Oscar Pistorius crushed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp’s skull with a cricket bat before shooting her dead, police have told her family.
Details of the post-mortem examination of South African model Reeva Steenkamp were withheld from last week’s bail application hearing.
Her family, who saw her body before Tuesday’s cremation in Port Elizabeth described horrific injuries from the cricket bat, and entry wounds from 9mm bullets fired by Oscar Pistorius.
They were also briefed about the model’s death by police and lawyers from the state prosecutor’s office.
In a sworn affidavit read to the bail hearing in Pretoria magistrates’ court last week, Oscar Pistorius claimed that he used the bat to break down the toilet door after the shooting, saying he had not realized his girlfriend was in the bathroom.
The bloodstained bat, which is currently being examined by a police forensics team, will be key evidence when Oscar Pistorius goes on trial for premeditated murder.
Oscar Pistorius – who has previously boasted about having a cricket bat, pistol and machine gun at home to defend himself against intruders – claims the bat became blood-spattered at the scene.
Last week the prosecution did not mention any details about the bat and the role they believe it played in Reeva Steenkamp’s death, opting not to disclose their case against Oscar Pistorius. But to secure bail, Oscar Pistorius’ legal team had to detail his defence, which included why he had a blood-spattered cricket bat in his possession on the fatal night.
The Paralympic athlete claims that during the night he heard a noise in the bathroom and feared it was an intruder.
Oscar Pistorius, 26, said he felt “vulnerable” without his prosthetic legs, so he got a gun from under his bed and fired through the bathroom door, shouting at the “intruder” to get out of the house and for Reeva Steenkamp to call the police.
At that point Oscar Pistorius thought she was still in bed.
Oscar Pistorius described his “horror and fear” as he realized Reeva Steenkamp was not in the bed, and said he used the bat to break down the toilet door to find Reeva slumped inside the cubicle.
The sprinter said he called paramedics and then carried Reeva Steenkamp, 29, downstairs, trying to revive her, but she died in his arms.
Yesterday, Reeva Steenmkamp’s father Barry Steenkamp said that the athlete would have to “live with his conscience” if he is lying about how he killed her.
Barry Steenkamp told Afrikaans-language newspaper Beeld: “It doesn’t matter how much money he has and how good his team of lawyers is, he must be able to live with his conscience if he allows his team of lawyers to lie on his behalf.
“He will have to live with his conscience. But if he speaks the truth, I can perhaps someday forgive him. If it does not happen as he tells it, he must suffer.”
In another interview, Reeva Steenkamp’s mother June said: “Everything has been taken away from me in such a terrible way. The only thing that matters now is the truth.”
Oscar Pistorius’ family believe him to be innocent, with his father Henke saying he had “zero doubt” that Reeva Steenkamp’s death was a tragic accident. In an earlier interview, Henke Pistorius said: “When you are a sportsman, you act even more on instinct. It’s instinct, things happen and that’s what you do.
“When you wake up in the middle of the night, and crime is so endemic in South Africa, what do you do if somebody is in the house? Do you think it’s one of your family? No, of course you don’t.”
In a statement yesterday Oscar Pistorius’ family said: “Oscar will never be the same . . . having to live with the knowledge he caused the death of the woman he loved, and that he can never undo the immense pain and loss this has caused Reeva’s family and friends.”