Pistorius out on bail until murder trial
South African paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius has spent his first night out of custody since being granted bail.PT1M10S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2ez6f 620 349 February 23, 2013
The distraught father of the woman killed by Oscar Pistorius has said that the sportsman will have to ''live with his conscience'' if he has lied about her death.
In an interview after Mr Pistorius was released on bail, Barry Steenkamp voiced fears that the Olympic sprinter was not telling the truth.
With his wife June beside him at the family home in Port Elizabeth, he told a local newspaper: ''It doesn't matter how much money he has and how good his team of lawyers is, he must be able to live with his conscience if he allows his team of lawyers to lie on his behalf.'' He added: ''There are only two people who really know what happened - and that's Oscar Pistorius and the Lord.''
"Everything has been taken away from her. In such a violent way. It's so violent. We just want to know the truth" ... Mrs Steenkamp, Reeva Steenkamp's mother. Photo: Reuters
Until now, Mr Steenkamp, a racehorse trainer, has been diplomatic in his comments about how Reeva, a 29-year-old model, met her death. Last weekend, he told a newspaper ''there is no hatred in our hearts''.
Yesterday however, with Mr Pistorius released on bail and living in his uncle's home in Pretoria, Mr Steenkamp's mood appeared to have turned.
''If it does not happen as he tells it, he must suffer,'' he said.
Mr and Mrs Steenkamp did not attend the bail hearing, and he was too distraught to watch her appearance in the reality television show Tropika Island of Treasure, broadcast days after her death.
Mrs Steenkamp, who said she had ''cried until she could cry no more,'' said: ''Everything has been taken away from her. In such a violent way. It's so violent. We just want to know the truth.''
The Pistorius family sent flowers, she said, adding that it would not bring her back.
Other family members told The Sunday Telegraph that it would be hard for Mr Steenkamp to forgive the man who killed his daughter.
''As a father, he feels he has let Reeva down,'' Kim Martin, 41, a cousin of Miss Steenkamp said. ''She felt bad about leaving her family behind in Port Elizabeth, but she was out in the big wide world, and her father was so proud of her.''
The Steenkamp family's comments came as the gold medal-winning sprinter was adjusting to his life on bail, ahead of what will be one of the world's highest profile murder trials.
Gone are the fast cars, glamorous nights and smart restaurants that characterised Mr Pistorius's life before the shooting. He must report to police, limit his movements to a suburb of Pretoria, and avoid all alcohol. Ten days ago, the double amputee was seen as a global sporting hero and an inspiration to millions: now he is facing possible life in jail, and was last week suspended by his sponsors, Nike. His release from custody on Friday came after a four-day bail hearing that generated almost as many frenzied headlines as the shooting.
Mr Pistorius insists that he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder, and shot at her by mistake. ''I tried to render the assistance to Reeva that I could, but she died in my arms,'' he said.
At the start of the week it seemed few would believe him. The prosecution put forward a dossier of evidence - how vials of testosterone were found in his room, how neighbours had heard the couple rowing, and how Mr Pistorius had a history of aggressive altercations. They also claimed he was a bail risk, owning a house in Italy to which he might flee.
As the hearing proceeded however, South Africa's legal system appeared to be on trial, as the court heard of flaws in the initial police investigation. It emerged that Warrant Officer Hilton Botha, who was leading the inquiry, was facing trial for attempted murder.
Mr Botha had come to court on Tuesday confident that he was a key player in what had been dubbed ''South Africa's OJ Simpson moment''. By Thursday, he was the focus of attention when it emerged that he was facing seven attempted murder charges for allegedly shooting at a bus while drunk. He denied misconduct, saying the incident took place during a routine police chase, but he was swiftly removed from the case and replaced by Lt General Vinesh Moonoo.
That was not only hitch in the case. What was believed to be testosterone was a herbal supplement used for a shoulder injury; the ''neighbours'' who heard the couple rowing lived more than half a kilometre away; and details of a house in Italy turned out to be taken from a magazine that had got its facts wrong.
It was claimed that Mr Botha had walked over the crime scene without protective footwear, and failed to check what phone calls had been made from the house.
And so it was that Mr Pistorius, who wept frequently in court, was released on bail.
Desmond Nair, the magistrate, outlined the case, conceding that he found it difficult to understand why Mr Pistorius ''did not seek to verify who was inside the toilet'' before firing four shots through its locked door. He was puzzled as to why, according to Mr Pistorius, Miss Steenkamp did not scream back when he shouted that there was an intruder in the house. And he had difficulty appreciating why Mr Pistorius should ''venture further in danger'' by entering the bathroom, where he thought an intruder was hiding. However, he came down hardest on the prosecution. The police ''blundered'' over the substance found in Mr Pistorius's home, wrongly identifying it as testosterone. And Mr Botha ''did not bother'' to check Mr Pistorius's mobile phone to see whether he had made emergency calls after shooting Miss Steenkamp.
Mr Pistorius, who is estranged from his father Henke and who lost his mother at the age of 15, will now stay with his uncle, Arnold, in Pretoria.
A friend who has known the athlete for a decade said that he was expected to continue training at the University of Pretoria track.
His coach, Ampie Louw, said that the six-time gold medallist would get back to the track immediately. ''We've got a professional relationship and we don't discuss private things,'' Mr Louw said.
Mr Pistorius used to spend his free time in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg such as Morningside, Melrose Arch and Sandton, but this is now off limits, because his bail restricts him to Pretoria.
His uncle, who inherited a fortune from his mine-owning family, will take Mr Pistorius to his police appointments.
And all the time they will be waiting for their day in court.
''We don't want the guys in the Volkswagens, we want the ones in the Mercedes,'' he told The Sunday Telegraph, emphasising his hope that only the finest police officers will work on the case from now on.
In an official statement put out by a PR firm hired by the family, he added: ''This is only the beginning of a long road to prove that, as we know, Oscar never intended to harm Reeva, let alone cause her death.''
Last night, the spokesman for the family said that the Twitter account of Carl, Mr Pistorius's brother, had been hacked, and a tweet sent.
The PR firm spokesman said: ''Carl did not tweet this afternoon, out of respect to Oscar and Reeva. We are busy cancelling all the social media sites for both Oscar's brother and his sister.''
The intense interest and chaos would have shocked Miss Steenkamp, her cousin said.
''She never wanted to be famous - she wanted to be accomplished. Her sole purpose was to provide for her mother and father,'' said Ms Martin, who met Mr Pistorius briefly in Cape Town. ''The thing that saddens me is that all this attention is being put on one person. I would like to hear her name as a person, not as just 'the girlfriend'.''
The Sunday Telegraph