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Pistorius not suicidal, family says

Story highlights

  • Oscar Pistorius' family denies a BBC report that the runner is suicidal
  • Pistorius "believes he has a purpose in life," his uncle says
  • Pistorius is accused of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14
  • Prosecutors say it was premeditated murder; he says it was an accident

South African track star Oscar Pistorius, charged with murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has applied for more lenient bail restrictions, including permission to travel overseas, a family spokesman said Monday.

Pistorius also is trying to sell some assets to settle legal bills, spokesman Johan van Wyk told CNN. His Pretoria home and his racehorses are among the items Pistorius is trying to sell, according to his family.

But the sprinter's family denied BBC reports Monday that he's suicidal as he awaits trial in what prosecutors say was the premeditated death of Steenkamp. Pistorius acknowledges killing her, but says it was an accident.

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The BBC3 report is based on statements from a man the network described as a close family friend who called Pistorius a "broken man."

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"I would go as far to say that he could be on the verge of suicide," the network quoted Mike Azzie as saying for an upcoming BBC documentary.

Pistorius repeatedly broke down and sobbed during a bail hearing last month, and the runner's uncle, Arnold Pistorius, acknowledged in a statement that his nephew "will never be the same" after killing Steenkamp.

But the uncle said he's far from suicidal.

"Oscar, broken as he currently is, believes he has a purpose in life and is working towards that. Media reports to the contrary are untrue," Arnold Pistorius said.

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Authorities charged Pistorius with premeditated murder last month after he shot Steenkamp in his Pretoria home on February 14.

The Olympic and Paralympic sprinter, known as the "Blade Runner" for competing on carbon fiber blades fitted to the stumps of his amputated legs, said he thought Steenkamp was an intruder. Prosecutors argue he intentionally killed her after a loud argument.

A judge ordered Pistorius released on bail last month.

Among the bail conditions: He cannot return to the home where the shooting happened, had to give up his passport, cannot go near an airport and cannot drink alcohol.

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