Reeva’s dad says Pistorius must pay, nurse tells of ‘angry’ inmate

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Barry Steenkamp, father of murdered model, Reeva Steenkamp, testifies during the sentencing hearing of Oscar Pistorius at the North Gauteng High Court. Picture: Kim Ludbrook - Pool /Getty Images
Barry Steenkamp, father of murdered model, Reeva Steenkamp, testifies during the sentencing hearing of Oscar Pistorius at the North Gauteng High Court. Picture: Kim Ludbrook - Pool /Getty Images

It was a dramatic day in court today as witnesses who were testifying in aggravation of sentencing in the Oscar Pistorius murder case were questioned by the state prosecutor and Oscar Pistorius’ lawyer.

These included the father of Reeva Steenkamp, whom Pistorius killed at his home in February 2013, and prison nurse Charlotte Mashobane.

The North Gauteng High Court heard emotional testimony from Barry Steenkamp.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked him if he still thought of Reeva.

“Every day of my life. Morning, noon, and night, in the early hours of the morning. I think of her all the time,” he said.

Pistorius sat with his head up, eyes closed. As Steenkamp continued, Pistorius doubled over and covered his face with his hands.

When asked about his daughter’s murder, Steenkamp wrung his hands and said it was difficult to explain.

“I don’t wish that on any human being. It devastated us. It ended in my having a stroke. I don’t wish that on anybody in this whole world.”

He told the court he often spent the early hours of the morning sitting on his veranda, smoking and listening to his wife, June, crying.

Steenkamp said June had forgiven Pistorius, because she felt it was the right thing to do.

“It still does not exonerate you from the crime that you committed. He must still understand that he has to pay for that.”

He said he had struggled to forgive.

“It’s been very difficult for me Sir, My Lady, to forgive, but I feel the same that Oscar has to pay for what he did. He has to pay.”

When asked how Pistorius should pay, Steenkamp said this was up to the court to decide.

Questioned briefly by Barry Roux, for Pistorius, Steenkamp said that when the time was right he would like to talk to Pistorius.

Meanwhile, Mashobane told the court how Pistorius ordered her out of his prison cell when she came to check on him.

“He became angry. He just shouted that I’m disturbing him and I must get out because he’s still sleeping. I listened to him and he covered himself with the sheet. He said ‘get out, get out’,” the professional nurse and Kgosi Mampuru’s assistant health manager said.

She added she was surprised by his behaviour because he had never acted like this before. This happened on March 1 2015, she said to questioning from Nel.

On another occasion, Pistorius came into the nurses’ duty room demanding feedback on a supplement and a “device” he had asked to have. Mashobane said the request had to go through various offices for security clearance and could not be approved in two days.

“He said you must give me this report. I need my feedback. I explained to him that the procedure for approval won’t take two days. He stated ‘no, don’t play these tactics’. [He] had a notebook and banged the table,” Mashobane said.

She said he was shaking with anger.

Pistorius sat in the dock looking at her. At one point he rested his elbow on the backrest of his bench and used his hand to shield his eyes.

The court heard yesterday that during a search of his cell, 28 tablets of Molipaxin and 14 of Cipralex, both antidepressants, were found in his cell. Nel asked her whether inmates were allowed to have medication in their cells and self-medicate. Mashobane said no.

Matters took a lighter turn when Barry Roux, for Pistorius, started his cross-examination. He asked her what the purpose of her testimony was.

“I’m not coming to tell that he’s a violent [person],” she said.

“So I can exclude that. He’s not a violent person?” Roux asked her, waving his arm.

Mashobane, who was standing in the witness box, was looking down and paging through the complaints register of the section of the prison.

Suddenly she shot back: “He is actually. Sometimes he can [be],” to laughter from the gallery.

At about 2pm, Nel requested that the court stand down. He said he had one more witness, but it would be an emotional interview, and he didn’t want to take the chance of the witness having to carry testimony overnight.

Judge Thokozile Masipa granted Nel’s request to adjourn, on condition that the testimony would be heard in full. She implied that the testimony would not be stopped, and the court would sit longer than normal if needs be.

Court resumes tomorrow at 9.30am for the last day of mitigation and aggravation of sentence.

Nel promised that his last witness would not testify for longer than two hours, and thereafter, both the defence and the state would give closing arguments. – News24 

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