The mother of murdered Reeva Steenkamp told Oscar Pistorius‘ parole hearing that the killer had robbed her of her ‘dearest child and her heartbroken husband’, just hours before it was announced that he would be released from prison in January after nearly 11 years.
June Steenkamp said she did not know a single person who believed he did not deliberately shoot her daughter. Blackburn-born Mrs Steenkamp delivered a powerful victim impact statement saying: ‘My dearest child screamed for her life.’
Mrs Steenkamp, who was recently widowed, said she believed Reeva’s father Barry died from a broken heart in September after ten years of grief.
She was making her final address to her daughter’s killer today and said he had destroyed Reeva’s life and her own as well and sent her husband to his grave without Pistorius giving him the truth, despite his pleas.
June Steenkamp (pictured in 2014) blasted Oscar Pistorius at his parole hearing saying he robbed her of her child and husband, as she believed Reeva’s father died from a broken heart
Reeva, then 29, was murdered by her boyfriend Pistorius on Valentine’s Day 2013
Reeva, who was 29, was a cover girl and socialite who described herself as a ‘brainy, blonde bombshell’
She chose not to attend today’s hearing at Atteridgeville prison where the athlete dubbed ‘Blade Runner’ has been held. Her words were relayed to the parole board by a lawyer on her behalf at a private hearing with press and public barred.
But MailOnline can reveal Mrs Steenkamp told the panel that she had to force herself to end any anger with her daughter’s killer to help her own health. Pistorius, 37, has long denied that he murdered Reeva in cold blood and shooting her was an accident as he believed there was an intruder in her home.
But Mrs Steenkamp said: ‘I do not believe Oscar’s version that he thought the person in the toilet was a burglar. In fact, I do not know anybody who does.
‘My dearest child screamed for her life; loud enough for the neighbours to hear her. I do not know what gave rise to his choice to shoot through a closed door four times at somebody with hollow-point ammunition when I believe, he knew it was Reeva.
‘At the time of writing this Victim Impact Statement, my memories go back to when my beautiful daughter Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp was born. Reeva was born a miracle; she entered our lives after medical experts predicted that I would have difficulty conceiving after a miscarriage. Barry and I had big dreams for Reeva.
‘From a young age she became a skillful equestrian and liked nothing better than helping Barry who managed stables and train racing horses.
‘From a very young age, she had the ability to light up a room with her presence. When she fell off a horse at the age of twenty and had to spend months recovering, she decided to become a model and use her public profile to garner support for the victims of domestic abuse and rape.
‘In the 29 years that Reeva lived, she developed into a well-rounded young lady, completed her law degree and started a successful modelling career. She already started using her voice to advocate the plight of those that were exposed to domestic abuse and rape.
‘It has taken me the best part of ten years to come to realize that Reeva appeared to have fulfilled her destiny during her life and more abundantly so, in her tragic death. Reeva’s name and her demise continue to raise awareness around gender-based violence worldwide.
‘But did Reeva fulfil her dreams? I know she did not. Shortly before she died, she started discussing marriage and having children one day as part of her dream. At 29, she was certainly mature enough and would have made a wonderful wife and mother.
‘Were our dreams for Reeva fulfilled? Of course not. We realized we were blessed as our daughter left us memories we could only be proud of. The massive hole left in our future, can never be filled by anyone else.
‘Recently, our family suffered a further blow. It is probably known that my dear husband Barry suffered a stroke two months after Oscar’s trial began when he was confronted with more headlines while reading the newspaper.
Both her late father and mother Mrs Steenkamp had been adamant that Pistorius should remain behind bars, until he told them the truth about how he deliberately killed their daughter
Known as the ‘Blade Runner,’ he was at the height of his fame when he killed Reeva months after the London Olympics
Tragically, Reeva had planned to give a talk about gender-based violence at a Johannesburg school on the day she was killed by Oscar. Pictured together in Johannesburg in 2013
‘Reeva was a real daddy’s girl and he was a doting father. She made an effort to sustain a strong relationship with us both and used to telephone her father on a Saturday and me on a Sunday.
‘I have no doubt that Barry died of a broken heart. No parent should have to bury a child and most certainly not in the circumstances that prevailed in the demise of Reeva.
‘Following Reeva’s death, Barry and I, both devastated, tried with whatever emotional reserves that remained to take care and support one another.’
She said the ‘unthinkable’ happened on September 14 when her heartbroken husband, ‘My Barry’, passed away.
‘What he meant in my life and the extent of his support have now crystallized into what remains after – an unending black hole of pain and loneliness.
‘I miss my partner and confidant dearly. The fact that he is reunited with Reeva offers some respite, but does not ease the terrific sense of loss that I have to come to terms with.
‘I am not attending Oscar’s parole hearing, as I simply cannot muster the energy to face him again at this stage. Barry’s demise had opened the wounds in many ways caused by Reeva’s death. I had forgiven Oscar long ago, as I knew almost instantly that I would not be able to survive if I had to cling to my anger. I do know that messages sent by Reeva highlights huge anger issues.’
Mr and Mrs Steenkamp initially forgave Pistorius, but now want him to spend life behind bars
Reeva’s messages were readout at Pistorius’s court hearings by Francois Moller of South Africa’s elite police Hawks, which obtained from his and Reeva’s mobile phones.
Mrs Steenkamp included a message from Reeva which followed a fight between her and Pistorius on January 27, 2013, a few weeks before he slaughtered her in a hail of bullets.
Reeva wrote: ‘I’m scared of you sometimes and how you snap at me and of how you will react to me.’
Another text message from Reeva to Pistorius was referred to by Mrs Steenkamp.
The message read: ‘I’m the girl who fell in love with you but I’m also the girl who gets side-stepped when you are in a s*** mood… I get snapped at and told my accent and voices are annoying.’
Another message from Reeva to her boyfriend and presented by her mother to the hearing said: ‘I was not flirting with anyone today. I feel sick that you should suggest it’, adding that he ‘f***** up a special day for me by throwing a tantrum. You do everything to throw tantrums in front of people’.
Mrs Steenkamp recalled that Samantha Taylor, who was his girlfriend prior to Reeva, described similar behaviour such as throwing tantrums, physical and emotional abuse.
She said: ‘I do not know to what extent this behaviour still exists or were evident during his time of incarceration, but I am concerned for the safety of any woman should this not have been addressed in his rehabilitation.
‘I do not know which rehabilitation programs were attended by Oscar while incarcerated, but I sincerely hope that his rehabilitation included psychotherapy to deal with his temper and abusive behaviour towards women.
‘I also hope that specialist criminologists were engaged to assist in compiling a psychological profile that would assist in determining his risk for recidivism. At this time, I am not convinced that Oscar has been rehabilitated.
‘Rehabilitation requires someone to engage honestly with the full truth of his crime and the consequences thereof. Nobody can claim to have remorse if they are not able to engage fully with the truth. If someone does not show remorse, they cannot be considered to be rehabilitated.
‘If they are not rehabilitated, their risk of recidivism is high. I am informed that an inmate’s remorse and the extent to which they are rehabilitated are taken into consideration at the time of making a parole decision.
‘It is my earnest wish that no one should be subjected to gender-based violence. I hope that parole board panels will evaluate an inmate’s rehabilitation by considering his/her engagement with the truth in determining the presence or absence of remorse.
‘My dear Barry left this world utterly devastated by the thought that he had failed to protect his daughter and therefore in his role as father, as he perceived it.
‘The only hope he had left, was that Oscar would find it in himself to eventually tell the full truth. It is my hope that parole decisions treat the safety of women as the most important consideration by exercising their power judiciously.
‘The pain caused by the dastardly murder of Reeva, did not only include emotional trauma. It also included trauma that manifested physically as became evident in the accelerated deterioration in health for both Barry and myself.
‘When Reeva died, I was a “young” 67 and Barry 70-years-old. I can confirm that our lives were gravely impacted – physically, emotionally and financially.
‘Should it be decided that Oscar is sufficiently rehabilitated, it is my wish that the parole policies and procedures of the Department of Correctional Services be applied consistently in his release.’
Rob Matthews, whose daughter Leigh was kidnapped and murdered in 2004, read Mrs Steenkamp’s statement publicly on her behalf outside the hearing today
Mr Matthews said it was ‘important victims have the opportunity to be at parole hearings’
Rob Matthews, whose daughter Leigh was kidnapped and murdered in 2004 and is an anti-gender violence campaigner, read Mrs Steenkamp’s statement publicly on her behalf outside the hearing.
He said: ‘It’s been a real tough road. It started in March and took all her courage to come to that parole hearing. A couple of months later it was Reeva’s birthday, her 40th birthday.
‘In September, her husband and soul mate died. It’s important victims have the opportunity to be at parole hearings and put their side forward.
‘There are 77 murders a day in South Africa and 14000 rapes…how many of those are held accountable and come to court?
‘We’re part of a privileged few that have got his far. We’re heading into 16 days of activism against GBV, the sentiment is profound.
‘June’s gone through a year of incredible trauma. She lives this every day and now she’s lost her soulmate.’
Mrs Steenkamp’s lawyer Annade Theart-Hofmeyr presented the statement to the hearing.