Reeva's family has doubts over overtures

2013-02-23 22:34
Reeva Steenkamp (Picture: AP)

Reeva Steenkamp (Picture: AP)

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Johannesburg - Far from the courtroom drama that has gripped South Africa, the family of Oscar Pistorius's slain girlfriend has struggled with its own private deluge of grief, frustration and bewilderment.

Reeva Steenkamp's relatives also harbour misgivings about efforts by the Paralympian's family to reach out to them with condolences.

Pistorius, accused of murdering Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day, spent Saturday at his uncle's home in Pretoria after being granted bail of R1m. 

Pistorius, charged with premeditated murder, says he killed her accidentally, opening fire after mistaking her for an intruder in his home.

"We are extremely thankful that Oscar is now home," his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said in a statement that also acknowledged the law must run its course. "What happened has changed our lives irrevocably."

The Pistorius family took steps to lower its profile on social media after someone hacked into the Twitter account of his older brother, Carl, family spokesperson Janine Hills said.

"Carl did not tweet this afternoon, out of respect to Oscar and Reeva," Hills said in a statement. "We are busy cancelling all the social media sites for both Oscar's brother and his sister."

No condolences, contact

Mike Steenkamp, Reeva's uncle, told The Associated Press that the family of the double-amputee athlete initially did not send condolences or try to contact the bereaved parents, but had since sought to reach out in what he described as a poorly timed way.

After Pistorius was released on bail in what amounted to a victory for the defence, Arnold Pistorius said the athlete's family was relieved but also in mourning "with the family" of Reeva Steenkamp.

"Everybody wants to jump up with joy," Mike Steenkamp said, speculating on the mood of Pistorius's family after the judge's decision. "I think it was just done in the wrong context, completely."

Beeld quoted June Steenkamp, Reeva's mother, as saying the family had received a bouquet of flowers and a card from the Pistorius family.

"Yes, but what does it mean? Nothing," she told Beeld.

She also said Pistorius's family, including sister Aimee, a sombre presence on the bench behind the Olympian during his court hearings in the past week, must be "devastated" and had done nothing wrong.

"They are not to blame," June Steenkamp said. 

Sobbed

In an affidavit, 26-year-old Oscar said he was "absolutely mortified" by the death of "my beloved Reeva", and he frequently sobbed in court during the several days during which his bail application was considered.

However, prosecutor Gerrie Nel, suggested in a scathing criticism that Pistorius was actually distraught because his vaunted career was now in peril and he was in grave trouble with the law.

"It doesn't matter how much money he has and how good his legal team is, he will have to live with his conscience if he allows his legal team to lie for him," Barry Steenkamp, Reeva's father, told Beeld.

"But if he is telling the truth, then perhaps I can forgive him one day," the father said. "If it didn't happen the way he said it did, he must suffer, and he will suffer ... only he knows."

Barry Steenkamp suffered "heavy trauma" at the loss of his daughter and his remarks to the newspaper partly reflect how he is working through it, said his brother, Mike Steenkamp.



Visit News24's Oscar Pistorius Special Report.

- AP
Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius
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