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Authorities tell family Steenkamp's skull crushed with cricket bat

Cricket bat
Cricket bat
Wikimedia Commons

Oscar Pistorius was granted bail on Friday, with no further court dates until June 4. There was no time off for the media though, as on Saturday horrific details about the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp emerged.

Earlier, a bloodied cricket bat was said to be key evidence. Now, it's said that police have already told Steenkamp's family that Pistorius used that cricket bat to crush her skull before before killing her with a fatal gun shot.

Details of the post-mortem examination of South African model and reality TV star Reeva Steenkamp were withheld during last week’s bail application hearing for Oscar Pistorius. However, grieving relatives who saw her body prior to Tuesday’s cremation in her home city of Port Elizabeth described horrific injuries on her body. Injuries consistent with being hit with a bat were seen, as well as the 9mm entry wounds.

Both police and attorneys from the state prosecutor’s office briefed the family about Steenkamp's death.

While police and prosecutors have their theory about the cricket bat, Pistorius and his legal team filed a sworn affidavit at the bail hearing in Pretoria magistrates’ court last week. In it, Pistorius explained his possession of a bloody cricket bat by claiming that he used the bat to break down the toilet door after the shooting.

Pistorius has claimed since the very beginning that he shot Steenkamp accidentally, believing she was an intruder and not realizing that she was not in the bed next to him. Authorities, instead, say that the couple quarreled and that the former Olympian intentionally killed her in a premeditated case of murder.

Oscar Pistorius was born with a condition known as fibular hemimelia (congenital absence of the fibula) in both legs. When he was 11 months old, his legs were amputated halfway between his knees and ankles. He uses carbon-fiber prosthetics that enable him to walk and run, and was nicknamed "Blade Runner" due to them. At the 2012 Summer Olympics on Aug. 4, 2012, Pistorius became the first amputee runner to compete at an Olympic Games.

Those legs -- along with the bat -- could be a key in the trial. Pistorius said he felt vulnerable as he was not wearing his legs when he thought he had an intruder cornered in the bathroom of his home. Thus, he said, he shot through the door.

However, during testimony by the now former lead detective in the case, Hilton Botha, the detective said that ballistics evidence showed that the shots that hit Steenkamp were angled downward, implying that Pistorius had to be wearing his "Blade Runner" legs.