Oscar Pistorius ‘must pay for killing my daughter’

Media captionBarry Steenkamp: “Oscar has to pay for what he did”

South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius must pay for killing his girlfriend, her father has told a judge, breaking down in tears.

He was found guilty of murdering Reeva Steenkamp after a court overturned an earlier manslaughter verdict.

The sentencing hearing – expected to conclude by Friday – will decide if he will face a jail term of 15 years.

Barry Steenkamp asked for photos of his daughter’s body to be made public so people could see the wounds.

Pistorius, a six-time Paralympic gold medallist whose legs were amputated below the knee as a baby, made history by becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics, in 2012, running on prosthetic “blades”.

Correspondents say Mr Steenkamp’s voice broke and tears streamed down his face as he said that he thought about his daughter “morning, noon and night… every hour”.

The 73-year-old told Pretoria’s High Court that he had had no contact with Pistorius, but said that wife June had been able to forgive the double-amputee athlete.

“You must understand why forgiving doesn’t exonerate you from the crime you committed,” he said.


At the scene: Pumza Fihlani, BBC News

Barry Steenkamp, a tall man, looked broken on the stand as he reminded the world that this protracted legal case was about the death of his daughter, and losing her was the greatest pain he had ever known.

Tears streamed down his face as he told the court how he thought of Reeva every day and that even after all this time it felt like it had all happened yesterday. He described jabbing himself with needles from his diabetes treatment to see if he could feel the same pain his daughter must have felt the night she died.

In the aftermath of her death, he had a stroke and now has heart problems, which is why he had not been able to testify during the original trial. But he said he felt compelled to speak now.

Eyes red from crying and trembling, he said that he and his wife had been changed forever and all they wanted was justice – being forgiven, did not exonerate someone from a crime. “He has to pay for what he did,” Mr Steenkamp repeated about four times.

Pistorius stared into space as Mr Steenkamp spoke. He too had been crying.


Mr Steenkamp also told the court how the couple had been left in financial “dire straits” after their daughter’s death.

Their landlady had served them with an eviction notice two weeks afterwards – which was why they had initially accepted monthly payments of 6,500 rand ($425; £300) from Pistorius.

This was meant to have been confidential and he said he was “disgusted” that Pistorius’ legal team had brought it up during the trial.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Psychologist Jonathan Scholtz said Pistorius was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder

When questioned by Pistorius’ lawyer, Barry Roux, Mr Steenkamp confirmed that he and his wife had declined an offer to meet the athlete.

“The time will come and I would like to talk to Oscar,” he said.

Pistorius, 29, killed Ms Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013 after firing four times through a locked toilet door.

The athlete has always maintained he believed he was shooting at an intruder.


Pistorius: Track champion

Image copyright
AFP

  • Twenty gold medals to his name
  • Just 17 when he won gold at the 2004 Paralympic Games
  • At 2012 Olympics, became first ever amputee to compete alongside able-bodied athletes

The making and unmaking of Pistorius


He was initially jailed for manslaughter in 2014 and was released into house arrest after a year, but his conviction was changed to murder after the prosecution appealed.

Pistorius was released from prison last October and allowed to serve out the remainder of his initial sentence under house arrest at his uncle’s property in Pretoria.

Oscar Pistorius ‘must pay for killing my daughter’

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