Africa

Pistorius must live with conscience, Steenkamp father says

  • 23 February 2013
  • From the section Africa
Barry Steenkamp after his daughter's funeral on 19 February 2013
Image caption Mr Steenkamp says only Oscar Pistorius and God know what really happened

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius "will have to live with his conscience" over the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, her father has said.

Barry Steenkamp was speaking a day after the Paralympic champion was freed on bail pending his trial.

Mr Pistorius, 26, admits shooting Ms Steenkamp, 29, but denies murder, saying he mistook her for an intruder.

"If it didn't happen the way he says it did he must suffer and he will suffer," her father told Beeld newspaper.

"It does not matter how much money he has and how good his legal team is, he will have to live with his conscience," Mr Steenkamp said.

"But if he speaks the truth, I can perhaps some day forgive him," he added.

Image caption Reeva Steenkamp's mother June says she wants the truth about her daughter

Reeva Steenkamp was a model and law graduate with a burgeoning television career.

She was shot dead in the toilet of Oscar Pistorius's home in the early hours of 14 February - Valentine's Day.

Mr Pistorius admits firing the shots through a locked door but says he thought he was firing at an intruder, not the woman he says he loved.

He was released on bail on Friday after eight days in police custody.

A magistrate ruled that the state had not made a case that he would flee, or that he had a violent character.

The next hearing is set for 4 June.

'Immense relief'

Mr Pistorius is currently staying at his uncle's house in the upmarket suburb of Waterkloof in Pretoria.

His uncle Arnold said his family and friends felt "immense relief" on hearing he had been granted bail.

"What happened has changed our lives irrevocably," Arnold Pistorius said.

"Oscar will never be the same, having lost his love and at the same time having to live with the knowledge that he caused the death of the woman he loved," he said in a family statement.

Arnold Pistorius said the family was "acutely aware" that this was the start of a long road to prove he never meant to harm Ms Steenkamp.

"We realise the law must run its course, and we would not have it any other way," he said.

Reeva Steenkamp's mother June told Beeld that she had received a bouquet of flowers from the Pistorius family.

"But what does it mean?" she asked. "Nothing".

Argument?

During the bail hearing, which began on Tuesday, both prosecution and defence laid out their cases.

Both sides agree that Oscar Pistorius shot through the bathroom door four times, hitting and killing Ms Steenkamp.

But prosecutors allege the shooting happened after the couple had an argument at Mr Pistorius's home in the early hours of 14 February.

The athlete says he woke in the middle of the night, and thought there was an intruder in the bathroom.

The prosecutors sought to portray him as man with a history of violence who was likely to flee the country.

But the defence argued it would be impossible for him to flee because his prosthetic legs would be noticed wherever he went.

Oscar Pistorius, 26, won gold medals at the Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004, in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.

In London he made history by becoming the first double-amputee to run in the Olympics, making the semi-final of the 400m.

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