JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Olympian athlete Oscar Pistorius, charged with the Valentine’s Day murder of his girlfriend, is not suicidal, his family announced Monday.
Pistorius “is in deep mourning but despite the tragic circumstances he is certainly not suicidal,” said a statement issued by Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius. He said Pistorius has support from his family.
“From the moment we were first informed about the dreadful event of the early morning of 14 February 2013, we have worked hard to come to terms with the sad news of Reeva Steenkamp‘s death and Oscar’s role in it,” said the uncle.
“Oscar, broken as he currently is, believes he has a purpose in life and is working towards that,” said Arnold Pistorius.
The family’s denial comes after reports that Pistorius was distraught and contemplating taking his life. Reports also said that Pistorius is facing financial ruin over the upcoming murder trial.
“The family doesn’t deny that Oscar’s legal expenses are massive and that he has sold off some of his investments, including his racehorses,” said the statement. “Oscar will evaluate the cost situation on a day-to-day basis and make decisions as required.”
The family statement came as Pistorius’ lawyers filed an appeal in a South African court against bail restrictions imposed on the disabled athlete, according to papers released by the Pistorius family on Monday.
“The conditions appealed against are unwarranted and not substantiated by the facts,” said the appeal, which was filed Friday in Pretoria, the South African capital.
State prosecutors said they would contest the Pistorius appeal, though a court date on the matter had not yet been set.
“As the state, we are going to oppose that application,” said Medupe Simasiku, regional spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority, to The Associated Press.
The appeal reflected the robust defense strategy of lawyers for Pistorius, who has been staying at his uncle Arnold’s home in a Pretoria suburb since he was released on bail on Feb. 22.
It is a delicate balance because the Pistorius family has also sought to keep a low profile, expressing sorrow for the death of Steenkamp. Pistorius says he mistakenly shot Steenkamp, thinking she was an intruder in his home. Prosecutors argue he killed her intentionally after an argument.