Reeva Steenkamp's father tells of 'devastation'

  • 14/06/2016
Barry Steenkamp (Reuters)
Barry Steenkamp (Reuters)

Oscar Pistorius must pay for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, her father has told a South African court, adding that forgiving the Paralympian runner for his crime was very hard.

The 29-year-old gold medallist faces a minimum 15-year jail term after his manslaughter conviction for the 2013 killing, for which he originally received a five-year sentence, was upgraded on appeal.

Called to testify by the lead state prosecutor in Pistorius's sentencing hearing, a tearful and trembling Barry Steenkamp said his daughter's death had devastated her family.

"I ended up having a stroke and so many things since then have happened ... I just don't wish that to anybody in this world," he told the court.

"He has to pay for his crime," Mr Steenkamp, 73, said of Pistorius, whom he found it very difficult to forgive.

Mr Steenkamp said he and wife June had relied financially on their daughter, and he had "jabbed [himself]... with needles" to try to relive the pain that she went through.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel told the court on Monday, the first day of the hearing, that Pistorius has shown no remorse for shooting and killing Mr Steenkamp when he fired four shots through a locked toilet door in his Pretoria home.

Mr Nel disputed a claim by Jonathan Scholtz, a psychologist called by Pistorius' lawyer that Pistorius was "a broken man" who should be hospitalised and not jailed, saying the track star had been violent while serving his sentence.

The case has prompted a fierce debate in a country beset by high levels of violent crime against women. Some rights groups have said the white athlete has received preferential treatment.

Earlier on Tuesday Ebba Gudny Gudmundsdottir, from Iceland, described the athlete as an inspiration to her 11-year-old son, who has a similar disability to Pistorius.