Oscar Pistorius has 'forgotten' the four-digit passcode needed to unlock a mobile phone he was using on the night he killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, The Mail on Sunday has learned.
Police have been forced to seek help from Apple in America to try to gain access to an iPhone 5 found on the floor of the bathroom in which the model was shot dead by Pistorius.
The 26-year-old South African athlete, known as 'Blade Runner' because of his distinctive prosthetic limbs, has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend, 29, and prosecutors believe his phone contains vital evidence.
The phone, along with three others, was found on the bathroom floor of his Pretoria home early on Valentine's Day after Pistorius had shot and killed Reeva. Lt Gen Vineshkumar Moonoo, who is leading the investigation, said: "Pistorius is saying he can't remember the code and we have been unable to access messages sent or received that night.
"These could be crucial and Apple executives in America have made their technicians available to help us.'
"I cannot say Pistorius's memory failure is suspicious but the mobile phones were clearly in use up to the time of the killing."
During the court hearing at which Pistorius was released on bail in March, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said examination of the mobile phones was vital.
Mr Nel said detectives had found four mobile phones on the bathroom floor: two BlackBerries and two iPhones.
Their position in the bathroom, close to the shower cubicle, could be evidence that the couple had a furious row during which Reeva had locked herself in.
Pistorius, who competed at the London Olympics last year against able-bodied athletes, told the court he had thought she was an intruder when he fired four shots from a handgun through the door.
Three hit Reeva and she bled to death.
Pistorius will next appear in Pretoria Magistrates' Court on August 19.
Text messages, together with a ballistics examination of the toilet cubicle and door, are believed to be the two pivotal elements of the prosecution's case.
- Mail On Sunday