Oscar Pistorius' family caught up in row over weapons
Tuesday 05 March 2013
The family of Oscar Pistorius has been caught up in a public row over whether guns are a necessary protection against crime in South Africa.
Pistorius' father, Henke Pistorius, told a newspaper the family owns handguns for self-defence and suggested that South Africa's government shares blame for "white crime levels" in the country where police register more than 15,000 murders per year.
But the runner's uncle, Arnold Pistorius, issued a statement in which the family distanced itself from the father's comments.
It said they were "deeply concerned about the comments" and that they do not "represent the views of Oscar or the rest of the Pistorius family."
The double amputee track star is now on bail after shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 with his 9 mm pistol.
Prosecutors charged him with premeditated murder, saying the shooting followed an argument between the two.
Pistorius said he mistook Ms Steenkamp for a burglar, fired shots at the door of his toilet and then discovered that she was inside.
His uncle, who has acted as the family spokesman following the killing, said in the statement that "the Pistorius family own weapons purely for sport and hunting purposes."
That contradicts Oscar Pistorius' evidence to the magistrate who freed him on bail.
In an affidavit, the athlete known as "Blade Runner" for his carbon-fibre prosthetic running legs said he owned the 9 mm handgun and slept with it under his bed because "I have also been a victim of violence and of burglaries before."
The South African Police Service's National Firearms Centre said Pistorius registered the 9 mm for self-defence. Police issued him with his gun licence on September 10, 2010.
Henke Pistorius earlier told the Daily Telegraph that some of the family's guns "are for hunting and some are for protection, the hand guns. It speaks to the ANC government, look at white crime levels, why protection is so poor in this country, it's an aspect of our society."
"You can't rely on the police, not because they are inefficient always but because crime is so rife," he said. "I have been in positions where I can use a gun but we have been brought up in a way that we value the lives of others very highly."
The family's response to those comments was issued by Vuma, a reputation management firm it has hired to deal with media questions following Ms Steenkamp's killing.
"Oscar Pistorius's family is deeply concerned about the comments made by Oscar's father, Henke Pistorius, to UK newspaper the Telegraph about the family using its weapons to defend themselves against crime in South Africa, and especially about his comments that the ANC government is not willing to protect white South Africans," the statement said.
"Henke's interview with the newspaper was unapproved by our media liaison team," it added.
Some reports have said Oscar Pistorius and his father had become estranged before Ms Steenkamp's death. But the father was seen comforting the sprinter when he sobbed during his bail hearing.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...
£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...
£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...