(Photo: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)
Days before Oscar Pistorius is due in court as a suspect in the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, his aunt said the Olympian has been reading the Bible and attending church and was being visited by a pastor.
"He's been going to church and people from the church are visiting him," Lois Pistorius, an aunt of the South African sprint runner, told The Guardian. "He attends the English service and I attend the Afrikaans service."
She added that the 26-year-old athlete is reading the Bible at home "a lot." "If you've got a purpose in life and you believe in God, it gives you a reason to understand things when they're not going smoothly because you rely on God who is everlasting and always there. Humans make mistakes. None of us is perfect."
Pistorius has claimed an accident on Feb. 14 led to the death of his girlfriend, Steenkamp, a South African model, and that he never had any "intention to kill my girlfriend." He will appear in court for a hearing on Tuesday. He was released on bail on Feb. 22.
Pistorius has been living with Lois and her husband, Arnold, at their home in Pretoria, South Africa. "He rarely goes out. It's very difficult for him. He reads a lot of stuff, newspapers, the Bible, he's doing some work on the computer," the aunt said.
She added that Pistorius has also been exercising a lot at home with family and friends. "It happened on 14 February. Where are we now? Three and a half months later. Things must go back to normal. We hope he will compete again one day because he's got the natural talent."
Pistorius' uncle Arnold has told M-Net channel in South Africa that the athlete cries frequently. "He reads Scripture and he prays. He grieves all the time and, it's such a personal thing, it's difficult for me to talk about this but he's going through a very, very tough time."
Arnold noted that Pistorius is being visited by his pastor once a week. "At the house they have a gathering every week and they work on this, but it's tough."
Meanwhile, Sky News on Friday published pictures of the bloodied bathroom where Pistorius allegedly shot his girlfriend on Valentine's Day.
"We were shaken by the graphic images, leaked into the public domain this week, of the accident scene at Oscar's house," the family said, according to The Associated Press. "It has always been our plea that the legal process be allowed to run its course with integrity. The leaking of evidential material into the public domain before the court case does not advance this process."
Lois told The Guardian that Pistorius does not know about the images.
Days after the shooting, the double-amputee runner gave his account of what he claims happened. "I was watching TV. My legs were off; she (Reeva) was doing yoga. At the end of the evening we got into bed. I'm acutely aware of people gaining entries to homes to commit crime; I've received death threats. I sleep with my 9mm (gun) under my bed. I woke up to close the sliding door and heard a noise in the bathroom," Pistorius said, according to the Daily Mail.
"I was scared and didn't switch on the light," his statement added. "I got my gun and moved towards the bathroom. I screamed at the intruder because I did not have my legs on; I felt vulnerable. I fired shots through the bathroom door and told Reeva to call police." When Reeva did not respond, Pistorius said he realized "it could be her in there."
Arnold said pictures of Reeva are still on Pistorius' walls. The family believes evidence will prove Pistorius is not guilty.