Police officials have allegedly found a bloodied cricket bat inside the house of South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, who has been charged with the murder of his model-girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
As the investigation into the death continues, South African daily City Press reports that the discovery of the bloodied bat has become the "central piece" of the probe.
The 26-year-old Olympic and Paralympic athlete has been charged with murder of the 29-year-old Steenkamp, a charge Pistorius has denied "in strongest possible terms".
"There was lots of blood on the bat," a source told the newspaper, adding that Steenkamp's skull was "crushed".
It is unclear whether the cricket bat was used against Steenkamp or the victim used it to defend herself.
"The suspicion is that the first shot, in the bedroom, hit her in the hip. She then ran and hid herself in the toilet... He fired three more shots," another police source told the daily.
Pistorius is due to apply for bail and could end up sentenced to life imprisonment if found guilty of premeditated murder. According to reports, several top experts have been brought in to assist Pistorius's lawyer in the ongoing case.
Pistorius's uncle Arnold Pistorius said: "We have no doubt there is no substance to the allegation and that the state's own case, including its own forensic evidence, strongly refutes any possibility of a premeditated murder or indeed any murder at all."
The double amputee won two gold medals and one silver medal at the London Paralympics last summer. The athlete, who is often called "blade runner", was also the first double amputee to participate in the Olympic Games.
Although initial reports suggested that Pistorius might have mistaken his girlfriend for a burglar, authorities ruled out the possibility. Many inhabitants in South Africa legally hold weapons in order to confront intruders.
According to The South African, nearly 16,000 murders take place in the country, many of which are related to domestic violence. Nearly four women are reportedly murdered every day by their partners in South Africa.
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