THE mother of the woman shot dead by Oscar Pistorius said yesterday she is ridden with guilt that she could not protect her daughter.
June Steenkamp, speaking ahead of the Olympic athlete’s pre-trial court appearance in Pretoria today, also said in a television interview that “there is only one person who knows what happened” the night her “terrified” daughter, Reeva Steenkamp was killed.
In an emotional interview, Mrs Steenkamp said she was desperate to learn the truth about her daughter’s final moments in the bathroom of the para-lympian’s mansion in Pretoria in February.
In the interview for the documentary Why Did Oscar Pistorius Kill Our Daughter? Mrs Steenkamp speaks of her desperation to know why the shooting took place, and discusses the guilt she and her husband feel about not having “protected” their daughter. The 26-year-old double amputee and six-time Paralympic sprint champion has been charged with premeditated murder, but claims he shot 29-year-old Ms Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder.
Mrs Steenkamp said: “Why did he shoot her? I want to know why he shot her. Because she must have been so afraid in the toilet, and somebody’s firing [a] gun, bullets through the door.
“And how terrified and already one bullet had hit her so she must have been in severe pain also, and I just feel why couldn’t I have warned her, or known something about this person – that they could be capable of doing something like that.
“Because he shot her till she was dead. Shot her till she was dead and I want to know what happened.
“We feel bad that we couldn’t protect her. Her whole life we protected her. From the day she was born we protected her, but this we could not protect her from.
“Why couldn’t we protect her from this? How did she end up with a person like this?”
Ms Steenkamp’s parents said their daughter had told them of her arguments with Pistorius and how they had feared for her safety.
Mrs Steen-kamp said: “She phoned me, we chatted about this and that, little girl things. I said ‘How’s it going with Oscar?’ She said ‘We’ve been fighting; we’ve been fighting a lot’.
“I didn’t feel alarmed about that because men and women do fight don’t they, it’s part of a relationship, but this is a very early relationship to be fighting.”
Arnold Pistorius, uncle of the “Blade Runner”, said the family “fully stand behind” him as he prepares for his court appearance, but added that they were “shaken” by pictures of the star’s bloody bathroom that emerged last week.
Mr Pistorius said: “We believe in him, love him and will support him every step of the way in what lies ahead. We continue to have great faith in the South African legal justice system and believe that Oscar’s account of what happened on that terrible night in February will be borne out by the evidence that the defence team will lead in court.”
In April, the police minister, Nathi Mthethwa said 49 mobile phones reportedly used to take photographs of Pistorius in custody were seized.
He said international news organisations had offered as much as £33,000 for a photograph of the toilet door.