February 16, 2013 / 2:51 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Pistorius, girlfriend were planning future - uncle

(Adds details, background)

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 16 (Reuters) - South African athlete Oscar Pistorius was planning a future with girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who he is accused of shooting in cold blood this week, his uncle said on Saturday.

“We are in a state of total shock - firstly about the tragic death of Reeva who we had all got to know well and care for deeply over the last few months,” Anthony Pistorius said in a statement released by his nephew’s agent.

“They had plans together and Oscar was happier in his private life than he had been for a long time,” he said.

Pistorius, 26, was charged on Friday with murdering Steenkamp in the early hours of the previous day. He broke down during a 40-minute bail hearing at a Pretoria court but was not asked to enter a plea.

Prosecutors alleged the shooting was premeditated - a charge that could put Pistorius behind bars for life if he is convicted.

Anthony Pistorius reiterated the family’s belief that the track star - a double amputee who became one of the biggest names in world athletics - had not deliberately shot Steenkamp, a 30-year-old model. Initial reports suggested he may have mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder.

Reporting by Ed Cropley; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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