Pistorius family 'shaken' by images

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Oscar Pistorius' family is ''shaken'' by the ''graphic'' leaked images broadcast by a British television station that purport to show the bloodied bathroom where the Olympian fatally shot his girlfriend on Valentine's Day.

The family statement came in response to images shown by Sky News on Friday and two days before the double-amputee runner is due in court for a hearing leading to his murder trial.

''We were shaken by the graphic images, leaked into the public domain this week, of the accident scene at Oscar's house,'' the family said, appearing to confirm they are from Pistorius' home.

''It has always been our plea that the legal process be allowed its run its course with integrity. The leaking of evidential material into the public domain before the court case does not advance this process.''

The images have not been verified by The Associated Press or South African police.

This will be Pistorius' first court appearance since he was freed on bail Feb. 22. The family contends evidence will prove his contention that the shooting was an accident.

The 26-year-old runner is charged with premeditated murder for the Feb. 14 death of Reeva Steenkamp. He denies the charge, saying he shot the 29-year-old model by mistake thinking she was an intruder in his home.

''As a family we fully stand behind Oscar as he prepares to appear in court this Tuesday,'' the statement said. ''We believe in him, love him and will support him every step of the way in what lies ahead. We continue to have great faith in the South African legal justice system and believe that Oscar's account of what happened on that terrible night in February will be borne out by the evidence that the defense team will lead in court.''

Sky News said last week it ''obtained'' the collection of images from inside Pistorius' upscale house in Pretoria, but did not say from where.

They purport to show the bloodied toilet cubicle where Steenkamp was hit three times through a wooden door. There are also images of the toilet door with two markers which show bullet holes, Sky said. Pistorius shot four times through the locked door, hitting Steenkamp with three of the bullets.

Some of the images show a bloody trail out of the toilet cubicle and into the main bathroom, including a footprint in blood, plus photographs of the passageway leading from Pistorius' bedroom to the bathroom.

Sky also said police officers are being investigated after a watch went missing from Pistorius' home in the aftermath of the shooting.

Pistorius has been living - sometimes in isolation, according to his family - at his uncle's house since being bailed. Since then, there have only been two reported public sightings of him: a grainy cellphone photograph of the runner wearing carbon fiber blades at his practice track, plus a visit to a Johannesburg restaurant.

The multiple Paralympic champion has also given up competition for the rest of the year to focus on his trial. He faces a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years in prison if convicted.

Tagged: Oscar Pistorius

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