Oscar Pistorius engaging in 'self-harming behaviour', says family after 'nightclub fight'

His uncle claimed the athlete has 'an escalating sense of loneliness and isolation'

Oscar Pistorius's family have claimed the athlete is engaging in “self-harming behaviour” following his involvement in a night club brawl in Johannesburg.

His uncle, Leo Pistorius, challenged “outrageous” claims about the altercation, when an acquaintance called Jared Mortimer allegedly “aggressively engaged” the Paralympian about his murder trial.

Mortimer claimed Pistorius was drunk and “very aggressive” on the night out at VIP Room, which came days after the final evidence was heard in his trial for shooting Reeva Steenkamp.

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“Whilst Oscar venturing out into a public space with his cousin, in the current climate and whilst his court case is still underway, was unwise, those of us closest to him have been witness to his escalating sense of loneliness and alienation,” Pistorius said.

“This, we believe, is underlying some of his self-harming behaviour.”

He added that Pistorius’ family are counselling the runner, who became the first amputee to compete in the Olympics in 2012, to deal with his “feelings of isolation”.

Pistorius denied his nephew was the aggressor in the incident and claimed witnesses could back him up.

He added: ”We do however believe that Oscar is grappling with an extreme level of emotional pain that is manifesting itself in some of his recent unwise actions and choices.“

Pistorius has also denied getting into a fight and poking Mortimer in the chest.

Reports of the disagreement emerged after the South African posted a series of message on Twitter after a long silence on social media.

He posted a collage of photos of himself with young amputees and a passage about how a man in "utter desolation" can still "achieve fulfilment".

The 27-year-old has admitted shooting his girlfriend dead on Valentine’s Day in 2013 but denies murder.

He claims he shot through the bathroom door “in fear for his life”, believing there was an intruder in his home.

The double-amputee is due back at Pretoria High Court on 7 August before the judge retires to consider the verdict of his case, which could take several weeks.

Pistorius faces between 25 years and life in prison if found guilty.