Father’s Day of tears



June 15, 2016
Father’s Day of tears

TESTIMONY: Barry Steenkamp

Reeva’s dad says her murder changed him.


Barry Steenkamp had the North Gauteng High Court in tears when he revealed how Oscar Pistorius forever changed his life when he murdered his daughter Reeva.

Testifying in the sentencing procedures of the disgraced Olympian yesterday, the grieving dad said he forgave Pistorius, but said the convicted killer had to be punished.

Choking back tears, his hands trembling, the 73-year old said: “June (Reeva’s mom) is also a Christian. I don’t really go to church but I’m a Christian.

“June has forgiven. She feels that it is right in her heart to forgive Oscar. But then you must understand, by forgiving like that, it still doesn’t exonerate you from the crime you committed.”

Barry told Prosecutor Gerrie Nel that his daughter’s murder on Valentine’s Day in 2013 felt like it happened “yesterday”.

Pistorius maintains he believed there was an intruder when he fired four fatal shots through a locked toilet door at his Pretoria home.

“From that day, it’s affected June and myself and my family so much and it’s very difficult to explain that. Our lives have changed completely,” he said.

“It devastated us. I ended up having a stroke. I just don’t wish that on anybody in this whole world.

“Ever since Reeva’s death, I have changed, I wouldn’t say I became a recluse, but I can’t really mix with people anymore.”

Barry, a diabetic, spoke of how he plunged syringes into his thighs, and slammed his knuckles into a wall, in an effort “to feel the pain Reeva went through” and realising he’ll never feel it.

The dad said he had many sleepless nights, looking at old photos of Reeva on his cellphone to remind himself of her.

Shortly before her death, Reeva called her parents to say she was going to be on a reality show, and paid for the elderly couple to get DStv to watch it.

Barry also explained that the reason for the Blade Runner giving the family a monthly payment since Reeva’s death was because they were in dire financial straits.

The family was also promised that the arrangement – sorted out by Pistorius’ lawyers on recommendation by their own – was going to be private and confidential.

However, he said he was “disgusted” that defence advocate Barry Roux brought it up during trial proceedings in 2014.

Barry said the family had declined meeting with Pistorius despite his attempts through lawyers to do so.

But he said he would like to one day, when the time was right, to talk to Pistorius.

Pistorius wept throughout Barry’s testimony.

Nel told Judge Thokozile Masipa his last witness would give “emotional evidence” in aggravation of sentence today.

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