The father of Reeva Steenkamp testified in a South African court today that her fatal shooting by boyfriend Oscar Pistorius “devastated” his family and how he thinks of her constantly, even trying to imagine the horrific moment of her death.
“Oscar has to pay for what he did,” said Barry Steenkamp, adding he would like to talk to the former track star in private at a later stage.
Mr Steenkamp spoke at the sentencing hearing for former athlete Pistorius, who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend in his home in 2013.
He gave testimony about the wrenching, personal grief of a distraught father who lost a daughter in a fatal shooting.
“She must have been in so much fear, pain,” Steenkamp said, his hands shaking at times. “That is what I think of all the time.”
Under questioning from chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel, Steenkamp urged Judge Masipa to allow the public to see the graphic photos of his daughter’s wounds entered as evidence during Pistorius’ trial but not allowed to be shown to a wider audience. Perhaps, Mr Steenkamp said, people who are “thinking of that type of deed” will hesitate before committing such a violent act if they see the photos.
He said the killing of his daughter, a model who was shot multiple times through a toilet cubicle door, had contributed to his health problems and he told how his wife, June, grieves just as much as he does despite what he called her “stone-faced” demeanour in public.
“I hear her at night,” Mr Steenkamp said. “I hear her crying. I hear her talking to Reeva.” He said of his daughter’s death: “It devastated us.”
Sitting in the courtroom, Pistorius looked downward as Mr Steenkamp testified. Afterward, during an adjournment, he sat hunched forward, apparently emotional, as his siblings, Carl and Aimee, sought to comfort him.
Pistorius is under house arrest after initially serving one year of a five-year prison sentence for manslaughter for shooting Reeva Steenkamp, 27.
That conviction was overturned last year by an appeal court, which convicted Pistorius of murder.
Judge Thokozile Masipa, who initially acquitted Pistorius of murder, will decide the new sentence. South Africa has a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for murder, although a judge can reduce that in some circumstances. The hearing continues.