Oscar is a kind, good, human being - friend

2014-03-14 14:41
(Herman Verwey, AFP)

(Herman Verwey, AFP)

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Pretoria - Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has received support from his family and friends during his murder trial because he is a kind and generous person, a friend from Iceland said.

Ebba Gudny Gudmundstottir and her mother flew from Iceland to Pretoria to support the athlete and his family as he faces murder charges after he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February last year.

"He is a very kind person, he is a good human being and you always feel safe and comfortable when you are around him," an emotional Gudmundstottir told Sapa.

"He takes care of his friends and he is there for them. He is very generous with his time and with his love and empathy.

"Oscar is just very special. That's why it is very difficult to understand what is going on here now."

Gudmundstottir sat in the back row of the public gallery in the North Gauteng High Court from 3-13 March.

‘Just like Pistorius’

She cried in court on Monday, when pathologist Professor Gert Saayman described Steenkamp's wounds. Pistorius himself was emotional and was retching in the dock as Saayman spoke.

Saayman said Steenkamp died as a result of multiple gun shots.

Pistorius is on trial for the murder of Steenkamp who was shot through a locked bathroom door of his Pretoria home on 14 February last year. He said he had mistaken her for an intruder.

Gudmundstottir said it was important to show physical support for the 27-year-old athlete who had been her friend for almost nine years.

"He was always there for us when we needed comfort. It is no tragedy to have a child who has no legs but there are difficult moments," she said emotionally.

"He was always there for us, so that's why we want to be here now when he needs friends. We wanted to give him physical support because that's what he gave to us."

Her eight-year-old son Halli was "just like Pistorius" and he was born with missing fibulae bones, she said. Both his legs were amputated when he was 11 months old.

Born without fibulae, Pistorius had both his lower legs amputated before he was a year old.

He was the poster-boy of ambition and overcame adversity, becoming the first amputee to compete on the track in the able-bodied Olympics in 2012.

Heartfelt gratitude

An emotional Gudmundstottir remembered how she befriended Pistorius.

Doctors told Gudmundstottir when she was 20 weeks pregnant with her son that he would be born with no legs.

She remembered how worried, scared and confused she was because there was no record of a child being born like that in Iceland.

She said then they googled "double-amputee" and found a photograph of Pistorius running in the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens.

"I can't explain how happy I was [when I found the photograph] because I did not know what it meant when they told me my son did not have legs," Gudmundstottir recalled.

"I just really did not understand it. I did not know anybody with no legs so seeing this was like a miracle to me."

Gudmundstottir said her mother, who was also in court to support Pistorius, contacted a journalist who interviewed the athlete and asked him to convey the family's heartfelt gratitude for having been there "without knowing it".

Her face lit up as she remembered the reply from Pistorius.

"He wrote my mom back and said 'hi I'm Oscar Pistorius, were you looking for me' with a smiley face," she said.

"Then he said if there is anything I can help you with, just let me know."


Gudmundstottir said they started corresponding and a year later he went to Iceland because of his blades and asked to meet the family.

The Gudmundstottir's invited him to their home and said as a family they had peace of mind after seeing Pistorius and seeing what he had accomplished.

"Oscar was extremely polite, and kind. He told jokes, he was just very kind to both my children. It was very obvious what kind of a person he is," she said.

Pistorius and the Gudmundstottirs became close and the family went to Manchester, in London, to see him run.

Gudmundstottir remembered one athletics meet when Pistorius won a gold medal and they were on a hill nearby.

"Oscar came running to us and he put his gold medal around my son's neck and he said to him 'this is for you champion' and my son was just beaming with joy," she recalled with tears in her yes.

Pistorius also showed Halli, who was three at the time, that they were the same which made the toddler beam with joy, she said.

"Halli was happy because in Iceland he is always the only one who doesn't have any legs, so it was a lovely thing to do," she said.

"Oscar means a lot to us and we know him well."

Gudmundstottir said the athlete was patriotic and showed them pictures of South Africa.

"He loves his country, he loves the people, he loves the food and is always bragging about it," she said.

Gudmundstottir said she would continue to support her friend despite returning to Iceland on Thursday. He mother would stay another week.
Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  pistorius trial

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