Oscar Pistorius' family caught up in row over weapons

 

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Health & Safety Consultant

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic and exciting opport...

Recruitment Genius: Project and Quality Manager

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Executive - OTE £20,625

£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals