OSCAR Pistorius, the celebrated athlete who became a murder suspect, has said he is consumed by grief, on the first anniversary of the day he fatally shot his girlfriend in his home.
The rare statement by the double-amputee runner came ahead of the 3 March start of his trial for killing Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot in his bathroom in the early hours of Valentine’s Day.
“No words can adequately capture my feelings about the devastating accident that has caused such heartache for everyone who truly loved and continues to love Reeva,” said Pistorius, who told a court last year that he had mistaken Ms Steenkamp for an intruder.
Prosecutors allege the 27-year-old track star, who is out on bail, intentionally killed her after an argument.
But Pistorius said: “The pain and sadness, especially for Reeva’s parents, family and friends, consumes me with sorrow. The loss of Reeva and the complete trauma of that day, I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
His words yesterday were unusual, as his uncle, Arnold, has normally been quoted in statements from his camp, which has sought to shield the runner from intense media and public interest in a case that transfixed many people around the world.
Pistorius was the first double-amputee to run at the world championships and the Olympics. He faces a possible life sentence, with a minimum of 25 years in prison before the chance of parole, if he is convicted of premeditated murder over Ms Steenkamp’s killing.
He is also facing other firearms-related charges.
Ms Steenkamp’s mother, June, is planning to attend the trial in Pretoria, the South African capital. No members of the victim’s immediate family have attended any of Pistorius’s previous court dates.
A judge will deliver the verdict – there is no trial by jury in South Africa.
On Wednesday, Pistorius’s spokeswoman said he had reached a settlement with a woman over an alleged assault case from 2009, because his lawyers had advised him he could not fight civil and criminal legal battles at the same time.
He was arrested and accused of causing injury to Cassidy Taylor-Memmory, a guest at a party at his house five years ago, after allegedly slamming a door and then punching it.