Reeva Steenkamp’s father reveals ‘devastation’ at Pistorius sentencing hearing

Reeva Steenkamp’s father reveals ‘devastation’ at Pistorius sentencing hearing

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Reeva Steenkamp’s dad has told a court he forgives Oscar Pistorius for killing his daughter – but says he must pay for his crime.

Under questioning from chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel, Mr Steenkamp urged Judge Thokozile Masipa to allow the public to see the graphic photos of his daughter’s wounds which were 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 they act if they see the photos.

Ms Steenkamp, a model and reality TV star, was shot multiple times through a toilet cubicle door at Pistorius’ Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day 2013.

Her father said 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,” he said, his hands shaking during his evidence. “I hear her crying. I hear her talking to Reeva.”

He said of his daughter’s death: “It devastated us.”

Pistorius is currently living under house arrest after initially serving one year of a five-year prison sentence for manslaughter for shooting Ms Steenkamp.

Pistorius claims he thought his house was being broken into, and that he had fired through the bathroom door in the belief than an intruder was hiding behind it.

His manslaughter conviction was overturned last year by an appeals court, which convicted Pistorius of the more serious charge of murder.

Judge Masipa, who initially acquitted Pistorius of murder, will decide the new sentence. The hearing is scheduled to run until Friday.

South Africa has a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for murder, although a judge can reduce that in some circumstances.

Earlier, a pastor and a woman whose son was born without legs testified for Pistorius’ defence.

Pastor Marius Nel said he had been in contact with schools who want the double-amputee Olympian to help disadvantaged children with sports training.

The pastor also said he had visited Pistorius after he was jailed for manslaughter, and found him to be a “broken” man.

This evidence reflects an argument by the Paralympic champion’s defence lawyer Barry Roux that Pistorius should not go to jail because he can make a valuable contribution to society and would face increasing mental deterioration if he returns to prison.

Another witness, Ebba Gudny Gudmundsdottir of Iceland, told the court that Pistorius was kind to her disabled son and gave him a gold medal which he won at a race.

“We still have that medal,” Gudmundsdottir said. “It was a very lovely gesture.”

Pistorius, a double amputee who was known as the Blade Runner, won several Paralympic gold medals and competed in the 2012 London Olympics for South Africa.

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