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Pistorius, girlfriend were planning future

February 16, 2013 17:10 IST

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius was planning a future with girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who he is accused of shooting in cold blood this week, his uncle said on Saturday.

"We are in a state of total shock -- firstly about the tragic death of Reeva who we had all got to know well and care for deeply over the last few months," Anthony Pistorius said in a statement released by his nephew's agent.

"They had plans together and Oscar was happier in his private life than he had been for a long time," he said.

Oscar Pistorius with his girlfriend Reeva SteenkampPistorius, 26, was charged on Friday with murdering Steenkamp in the early hours of the previous day. He broke down during a 40-minute bail hearing at a Pretoria court but was not asked to enter a plea.

Prosecutors alleged the shooting was premeditated -- a charge that could put Pistorius behind bars for life if he is convicted.

Anthony Pistorius reiterated the family's belief that the track star -- a double amputee who became one of the biggest names in world athletics -- had not deliberately shot Steenkamp, a 30-year-old model. Initial reports suggested he may have mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder.

Photograph: Thembani Makhubele/Reuters

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