Friday 22 September 2017

I want to know why Pistorius shot my daughter, says Reeva’s mum

Catherine Wylie

THE parents of Reeva Steenkamp who was shot dead by Oscar Pistorius have spoken out about their need for answers surrounding their daughter's death.

 

In a television interview to be broadcast tonight, June Steenkamp says "there is only one person who knows what happened" that night in February when Ms Steenkamp was killed.

The interview comes as Pistorius - who is expected to stand trial later this year - is due to appear in court in Pretoria tomorrow.

The 26-year-old double amputee and six-time Paralympic sprint champion has been charged with premeditated murder, but claims he shot 29-year-old Ms Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder.

The ''Blade Runner'' is currently on bail after a judge changed his conditions in March, allowing him to travel abroad providing he hand over his travel plans.

Oscar Pistorius with Reeva Steenkamp
Oscar Pistorius with Reeva Steenkamp
June and Barry Steenkamp, the parents of Reeva Steenkamp
A picture painted by Reeva Steenkamp, as a teenager, depicting a gunman an angel and a stairway to heaven which her parents described as a "premonition".
A picture painted by Reeva Steenkamp, as a teenager, depicting a gunman an angel and a stairway to heaven which her parents described as a "premonition".
A picture painted by Reeva Steenkamp, as a teenager, depicting a gunman an angel and a stairway to heaven which her parents described as a "premonition".
Reeva Steenkamp as a girl with her mother June
The aftermath of the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp in the bathroom of paralympian Oscar Pistorius's upscale Pretoria home. Photo: Sky News/PA
Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead by Oscar Pistorius at his home in Pretoria, South Africa, in the early hours of Valentine's Day
ACCUSED OF MURDER: Oscar Pistorius in the dock of a Pretoria magistrates court.

In the Channel 5 interview, Mrs Steenkamp speaks of her desperation to know why the shooting took place, and discusses the guilt she and her husband feel about not having "protected" their daughter.

"Why? Why did he shoot her? I want to know why he shot her. Because she must have been so afraid in the toilet, and somebody's firing [a] gun, bullets through the door.

"And how terrified and already one bullet had hit her so she must have been in severe pain also, and I just feel why couldn't I have warned her, or known something about this person - that they could be capable of doing something like that.

"Because he shot her till she was dead. Shot her till she was dead and I want to know what happened. Why?

"We feel bad that we couldn't protect her. Her whole life we protected her. From the day she was born we protected her, but this we could not protect her from. Why couldn't we protect her from this?

"How did she end up with a person like this? Who could shoot her? I want to know. We don't know what happened. There is only one person who knows what happened," she told the Channel 5 programme Why Did Oscar Pistorius Kill Our Daughter?.

Ms Steenkamp's parents say their daughter told them of her arguments with Pistorius and how they had feared for her safety.

Recalling a phone call from her daughter who was travelling in a car that Pistorius was driving at speed, Mrs Steenkamp says: "She was afraid, she was so afraid. She phoned me and she said, 'Mummy I'm in the car with Oscar and he's driving like a lunatic'."

Mrs Steenkamp adds: "A week or so later she phoned me, we chatted about this and that, little girl things. I said 'how's it going with Oscar?' She said that 'We've been fighting; we've been fighting a lot'.

"She didn't elaborate about what they'd been fighting about. She said, 'We are fighting a lot.' That's what she said.

"I didn't feel alarmed about that because men and women do fight, don't they, it's part of a relationship but this is a very early relationship to be fighting."

Ms Steenkamp's parents also reveal unseen personal photographs and letters.

Among them is a picture painted by Reeva as a teenager - a painting depicting a gunman, an angel and a stairway to heaven which her parents described as a "premonition".

Mrs Steenkamp says: "Reeva painted these pictures when she was 14, they've been in the house for a long time now, but we never really realised what they were about.

"Here is a man standing in a field, next to a tree, and he is holding a gun. And then on the other side... is what could be Reeva wearing angel wings, and here is the ladder going up to heaven.

"And we never really, really understood the painting but it almost seems like a premonition.

"And it is, if you look at it, it's a premonition of what happened to her. And she's petrified. She's afraid. She's showing horror and she's afraid. She's terrified. Her hands are over her mouth, and she's terrified.

"If you look at it now it's clear as anything that this is a premonition."

The documentary shows the scene as friends and family came together to scatter Ms Steenkamp's ashes in the waters of Nelson Mandela Bay.

He father says: "Her grandfather's ashes were spread out into the sea and I think we all think that a wonderful place to spread your ashes would be the sea because it would go, be all over the place."

Meanwhile, Pistorius' uncle Arnold Pistorius said the family "fully stand behind" him as he prepares to appear in court tomorrow.

He also referred to the pictures of the bloody bathroom in the Paralympian's home which emerged last week, saying that the leaking of such material does not allow the legal process to "run its course with integrity".

He said: "We believe in him, love him and will support him every step of the way in what lies ahead.

"We were shaken by the graphic images, leaked into the public domain this week, of the accident scene at Oscar's house..

"It has always been our plea that the legal process be allowed its run its course with integrity.

"The leaking of evidential material into the public domain, before the court case, does not advance this process.

"We continue to have great faith in the South African legal justice system and believe that Oscar's account of what happened on that terrible night in February will be borne out by the evidence that the defence team will lead in court."

Why Did Oscar Pistorius Kill Our Daughter? airs on Channel 5 at 9pm.

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