Johannesburg: Oscar Pistorius, the South African paralympian due to face trial next month for shooting his girlfriend dead last St Valentine’s Day, has issued a rare public statement saying he is “consumed with sorrow” by what happened which he would carry with him for “the rest of my life”.
Pistorius, 27, maintained that what happened was a “devastating accident” and expressed regret for the “heartache” it had caused Reeva’s parents, family and friends.
The statement was placed on Pistorius’ website and announced in a tweet from the runner at 1 am, just two hours before the exact time he shot Steenkamp one year ago. “A few words from my heart,” read the tweet, Pistorius’ first communication since his tearful statement in court shortly after the murder.
“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,” the statement 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.”
Pistorius, who is known as “Blade Runner” for the carbon-fibre blades he runs on, was arrested on St Valentine’s Day last year after shooting Steenkamp three times through a locked toilet door in his Pretoria home.
He claimed he thought she was an intruder. The prosecution say he shot Steenkamp, 29, a law graduate and FHM model, after a row. Pistorius is due to stand trial at Pretoria’s High Court on March 3 for premeditated murder and possession of 38 unlicensed bullets discovered when police searched his home.
This week, as South Africa reflects on the devastating events that prompted the fall from grace of its golden boy and Olympic medal-winner, Steenkamp’s parents also issued a statement and confirmed that her mother June would attend the trial.
“All we are looking for is closure and to know that our daughter did not suffer on that tragic Valentine’s Day,” they said.
“As the first anniversary of our beloved daughter’s death approaches, we would like to thank all family, friends, the people of South Africa, and the world for their compassion, kind words and comfort shown to us, and for the many letters of condolences we have received.”