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Tue Jul 29 10:45:58 SAST 2014

Police try to plug leaks from within their ranks

GRAEME HOSKEN | 18 February, 2013 00:25
Oscar Pistorius is led away from the Boschkop police station in Pretoria yesterday. He was arrested in connection with the shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, killed on St Valentine's Day
Image by: JAMES OATWAY

As the State moves to shore up its case against Olympic hero Oscar Pistorius for the deadly Valentine's Day shooting of his girlfriend, the police are frantically trying to close the leaks within their ranks.

Sources close to the team of detectives investigating the killing of model and lawyer Reeva Steenkamp have shone a light into the hours leading up to her alleged murder and her final moments after the shooting.

With Pistorius's two-day bail hearing beginning tomorrow, senior police officers are frantically trying to stop the dissemination of highly sensitive information about their investigation.

Gauteng provincial police spokesman, Brigadier Neville Malila, said there would be no comment on the investigation until after the bail hearing.

"I cannot comment on what evidence has or has not been gathered," he said.

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale said leaking information to the media was regarded as a serious breach in police conduct.

"We are investigating the allegations, considering the case is sub judice."

Rumours are spreading, with international and South African media reporting grisly details of the killing.

These include allegations that a bloody cricket bat was found lying against Pistorius's bed.

Evidence seized allegedly includes Steenkamp's iPad.

The iPad, sources say, forms an intrinsic part of the investigation as it is said to contain messages from several friends on social media websites.

Some messages are believed to have been sent by Steenkamp's close friend, Springbok and Blue Bulls rugby player Francois Hougaard.

It is thought that the state is relying on this evidence for the bail application.

Hougaard's manager, Lorinda Voges, said: "Our client will not comment on any rumours or answer any questions regarding Reeva Steenkamp or Oscar Pistorius at this stage as this is still an ongoing investigation ... this sad ordeal has nothing to do with him."

Police sources said a "witch hunt" had been launched to catch those speaking out about the investigation.

"It is not just one leak ... there are many speaking out about what happened on the night."

OSCAR RECEIVES SOCIAL SUPPORT

The odds may be stacked against Oscar Pistorius, but he's receiving support on Twitter:

Springbok flyhalf Morne Steyn (@mornesteyn): "I am praying for you my man @OscarPistorius! Things are hard now, but stay strong!! All the best. God Bless."

Carl Rudman (@wantinglovejoy): "@OscarPistorius. Thinking of you, be strong, you'll get thru this, I still love you."

Meghann Wood (@MeghannWood): "Still sending my love and support to @oscarpistorius, his family and Reeva's family."

Charleen (Charleen_L): "I'm actually hoping @OscarPistorius is innocent. I really like and support him. Very very sad."

Stephanie Venter (@Steph_Venter): "Sending lots of love, prayers and support to @AimeePistorius @carlpistorius @OscarPistorius today."

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Tue Jul 29 10:45:58 SAST 2014 ::