Spokesman defends Pistorius' night out

2013-04-15 06:31:56 GMT2013-04-15 14:31:56(Beijing Time)  SINA.com

The spokeswoman for Oscar Pistorius has defended the runner after he was reportedly seen downing shots and flirting with women at a Johannesburg restaurant.

Since being released on bail , Pistorius has been staying at his uncle's house in Pretoria while awaiting his murder trial over shooting Reeva Steenkamp on February 14.

The double-amputee, who claims he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder when he shot her, has remained largely out of public view amid intense international interest in his case.

His spokeswoman, Anneliese Burgess, last week said the 26-year-old athlete had been "very isolated" but had begun a process of "interacting with people".

But South African press reports said Pistorius shocked patrons when he turned up, looking "relaxed and happy", at a party at the popular Kitchen Bar restaurant last Saturday.

Reports quoted people at the restaurant as saying Pistorius, sporting a beard, was flirting with several women and "knocking back" shots, which are known as shooters in South Africa.

"He was drinking shooters and he was flirtatious," one woman told the local Sunday Times.

Ms Burgess defended the Olympian, saying Pistorius "strenuously and vigorously denies any inappropriate behaviour towards any people or women present, or 'partying it up' with shooters.

"Oscar did go out last Saturday with friends," she told the Sunday Times.

"It was the first time since the tragic and horrific events of February 14 that Oscar went out with friends.

"He has been out of the house with family, but this was the first time he went out to a restaurant with people other than close family.

"It is regrettable that what was supposed to be a low-key evening reconnecting with friends is now being blown out of proportion for sensational reasons."

Ms Burgess told the paper that Pistorius left the venue when "public interest became overwhelming".

He then went to a bar across the street for a short time, but "left for the same reason", Ms Burgess said.

Last week, the Pistorius family released a statement saying the athlete had been spending time with people who were close to Ms Steenkamp.

"Over the past few weeks, Oscar has found comfort in spending time and sharing memories with many of those whom she loved, in surroundings where shared memories were created," the family said.

They said he was traumatised and in mourning over his girlfriend's death.

Ms Burgess said: "There is not a moment in the day that Oscar does not mourn for his girlfriend, and Reeva's family and all those who were close to her are in his thoughts constantly."

Pistorius said he killed Ms Steenkamp, 29, by accident as he thought he was shooting an intruder when he fired through a bathroom door at his Pretoria home.

Prosecutors say he shot her after the couple had an argument.

The runner's agent, Peet van Zyl, has said Pistorius was running on his blades again and his return to regular training was imminent.

Pistorius is scheduled to be back in court on June 4. He could face a life sentence if found guilty of murder.


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