Africa

Steenkamp mother: 'Arrogant Pistorius was sure to kill'

Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius, Nov 2012 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Reeva Steenkamp's relationship was Pistorius was "coming to an end", her mother says

It was bad luck Reeva Steenkamp met Oscar Pistorius, her mother has said, as the "volatile" athlete "would have killed someone sooner or later".

Speaking to The Times, June Steenkamp calls Pistorius "pathetic", "moody", "gun-toting" and "possessive".

She rejects both his apology and his version of events, but admits: "He's the only one who knows the truth."

Pistorius is serving five years for the culpable homicide of girlfriend Reeva. He could be out in 10 months.

The South African athlete was cleared of murder.

'About to leave'

June Steenkamp told The Times, which is serialising her book, Reeva: A Mother's Story, which is to be published on 6 November, that Reeva had told her the couple had not yet entered a sexual relationship and had "nagging doubts about their compatibility".

She says: "She had confided to me that she hadn't slept with him. They'd shared a bed, but she was scared to take the relationship to that level.

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Media captionJudge Thokozile Masipa hands down the sentence

"She wouldn't want to sleep with Oscar if she wasn't sure. I believe their relationship was coming to an end. In her heart of hearts, she didn't think it was making either of them happy."

Ms Steenkamp, 68, who was not called to testify at the trial, says this may have played a part in what happened on the night of the shooting, Valentine's Day last year.

She rejects his version of events, that there was no row and that he had thought there was an intruder in the toilet cubicle when he fired four shots through the door "without thinking".

"There is no doubt in our minds that something went horribly wrong, something upset her so terribly that she hid behind a locked door with two mobile phones," June writes.

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Media captionJune Steenkamp speaks after the sentencing

Other words she uses to describe Pistorius are "arrogant", "moody", "combustible", "trigger-happy", "vague", "evasive" and "shifty".

She believes Reeva, 29, was about to leave Pistorius, 27.

She says: "Her clothes were packed. There is no doubt in our minds: she had decided to leave Oscar that night."

In the excerpt of the book serialised in the paper, Ms Steenkamp refers to Pistorius's apology to them in court.

"Why decide to say sorry to me in a televised trial in front of the whole world? I was unmoved by his apology.

"I felt if I appeared to be sorry for him at this stage of his trial on the charge of premeditated murder, it would in the eyes of others lessen the awfulness of what he had done. He was in the box trying to save his own skin."

Nevertheless, the parents say they do want to meet Pistorius.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Oscar Pistorius holds the hands of family members as he is led away

Although she says "I am not entirely sure what I am going to say", father Barry, 71, says he wants an apology.

"I would like him to really, truthfully say, although he said it in court, 'I'm sorry.'  I would like him just to say it to our faces."

Ms Steenkamp also talks about the "wrenching pain that you get in your heart" when thinking of her daughter's death.

"It's always there. The minute your eyes open in the morning, or if you wake up in the middle of the night, there it is."

Pistorius, an amputee sprinter, became the first athlete to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

He is serving his sentence in Pretoria's Kgosi Mampuru II jail.

Pistorius was also given a three-year suspended sentence for firing a gun in a restaurant.

Inside Oscar Pistorius's home

INTERACTIVE
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  • Balcony

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    Mr Pistorius said he and Ms Steenkamp had dinner at about 19:00 before going to bed at 21:00. He said he woke in the early hours, spoke briefly to his girlfriend and got up to close the sliding door and curtains.

    Judge Thokozile Masipa questioned the reliability of several witnesses who said they heard screams and gunshots between about 03:12 and 03:17, saying most had 'got facts wrong'.

  • Bathroom noise

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    Mr Pistorius said he heard the bathroom window sliding open and believed that an intruder, or intruders, had entered the bathroom through a window which was not fitted with burglar bars.

    Mr Pistorius said he grabbed his firearm and told Ms Steenkamp, who he thought was still in bed, to call the police.

    The judge said it made no sense that Ms Steenkamp did not hear him scream 'Get out' or call the police, as she had her mobile phone with her.

  • Shooting

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    Mr Pistorius could see the bathroom window was open and toilet door closed. He said he did not know whether the intruders were outside on a ladder or in the toilet.

    He had his firearm in front of him, he heard a movement inside the toilet and thought whoever was inside was coming out to attack him.

    'Before I knew it, I had fired four shots at the door,' he said.

    The judge said she did not accept that Mr Pistorius fired the gun by accident or before he knew what was happening. She said he had armed himself with a lethal weapon and clearly wanted to use it. The other question, she said, was why he fired not one, but four shots before he ran back to the room to try to find Ms Steenkamp.

  • Bedroom

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    Mr Pistorius said he went back to the bedroom and noticed that Ms Steenkamp was not there.

    Mr Pistorius said this was when he realised she could have been in the toilet and rushed back to the bathroom.

  • Toilet door

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    Mr Pistorius said he screamed for help and went back to the bathroom where he found the toilet was locked. He returned to the bedroom, pulled on his prosthetic legs and turned on the lights before bashing in the toilet door with a cricket bat.

    When the door panel broke, he found the key and unlocked the door and found Ms Steenkamp slumped on the floor with her head on the toilet bowl. He then carried her downstairs, where he was met by neighbours.

3D animation of the apartment

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Media captionNote: 3D model based on floor plan presented at Pretoria Magistrates' Court in 2013, Agencies and Eyewitness News.