Reeva Steenkamp’s heartbroken parents say Oscar Pistorious should NEVER be released after they confronted him in prison where he ‘wailed like a child’ – but continued to deny killing their daughter
- EXCLUSIVE: Reeva’s parents they initially forgave athlete for shooting daughter
- He refuses to admit that he it deliberately did it – they now oppose early release
The family of murdered South African model Reeva Steenkamp have revealed for the first time details of a shocking prison cell confrontation with their daughter’s murderer Oscar Pistorious – and why they now believe the Blade Runner killer should stay behind bars for life.
Barry Steenkamp said Pistorius broke down and ‘wailed like a child’ when he read out a heart-breaking letter from Reeva’s mother during their tense jail showdown.
Pistorius, who shot his 29-year-old model girlfriend Reeva four times, could taste freedom within weeks, if granted parole.
Reeva’s parents Barry and June say they initially forgave the athlete for killing their daughter.
But since the athlete refused to admit to them that he deliberately shot Reeva, they say they are vehemently opposed to his early release. Speaking exclusively to MailOnline on the eve of the 10th anniversary of their daughter’s death, Barry and June Steenkamp say they want Pistorius to remain behind bars for the rest of his life.
Barry and June Steenkamp say they have ‘crawled’ through the last 10 years since their daughter Reeva was shot dead by Oscar Pistorious. The couple who confronted the paralympic champion in prison, say they want him to remain locked up for life after he refused to admit his guilt in her murder.
Oscar Pistorius walks in the courtroom without his prosthetic legs during his resentencing hearing for the 2013 murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the Pretoria High Court on June 15, 2016
Oscar Pistorius with model Reeva Steenkamp at a sports awards ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Barry said: ‘I told Oscar directly that he had shot my daughter deliberately and he denied it. He stuck to his story that he thought it was an intruder.
‘After all these years we are still waiting for him to admit he did it in anger. That is all we wanted.
‘If he told me the truth, he would have been a free man by now and I would have let the law take its course over his parole.
‘But I was wasting my time. He is a murderer. He should remain in jail.’
The South African athlete, nicknamed Blade Runner after his racing prosthetics, is serving a 13-year sentence for the infamous murder on Valentine’s Day 2013, when he claimed to have mistaken Reeva for an intruder, shooting her through the bathroom door.
In June last year Pistorius agreed to meet the Steenkamps in prison, as part of South Africa’s victim-offender dialogue programme.
He was flown from Pretoria to a detention centre close to their Port Elizabeth home.
Mr Steenkamp, who suffers poor health, was prepared to see Pistorius and hear ‘what he had to say.’
In the end, June, 76, decided not to attend. Instead wrote a letter which she gave to her husband to be read to Pistorius.
Barry, 80, accompanied by his lawyer Tania Koen, watched Pistorius, dressed in orange prison garb, reduced to a blubbering wreck as a social worker read her devastated mother’s cri de coeur.
Mrs Steenkamp wrote: ‘Reeva was a gift from God for me and for Barry.
‘Oscar, you’ve taken her away from us. But you have also taken our grandchild and she will never have her wedding.
‘She will never have a wedding dress. She will never be able to use her law degree. She got 13 distinctions for her law degree.
‘She was a clever woman, and she wasn’t just a pretty face. And you have taken everything away from her that she could have had and would have had by now.’
Their little Reeva: Barry and June Steenkamp have shared a series of pictures of their daughter after speaking to MailOnline as the 10th anniversary of her murder approaches
Reeva’s parents Barry and June say they initially forgave the athlete for killing their daughter
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline on the eve of the 10th anniversary of their daughter’s death, Barry and June Steenkamp say they want Pistorius to remain behind bars for the rest of his life
Mrs Steenkamp, originally from Blackburn, Lancashire, told MailOnline she could not face Pistorius because she was concerned about not being able to hold back.
‘I couldn’t see myself going without hurting him. I didn’t want to go to jail for attacking him. That would have been a great possibility. ‘Things haven’t got better. It gets worse as the time goes by because we miss Reeva every day that she is not here with us.
‘It’s very, very stressful that she couldn’t spend our last days with us because he took her.
‘Oscar has taken a lot away from us and from her. So now instead of getting upset, I get anger. I am angry with him. It is a horrible thing to say, but I can’t stand him.
‘I don’t think that he got enough time and if somebody takes a life they must pay with their life in jail.
‘He has taken her life away from us. Everything that we would have had with the joyfulness of having her.
‘Reeva was a wonderful daughter, and she never made a wrong move in her life. She never stressed us out with anything. She was just a perfect person and a loving person for both of us.
‘That has gone, but we think of her all the time. Those are the hardest of things. She wanted to have children and she wanted to get married. But she got involved with the wrong person.
‘I have become another person too. People ask me what defines me, and it is Reeva’s death. I am not the same person. I feel that and when I look in the mirror, I am not seeing me.
‘I have lost the big something in my life. It is too much. She was everything to us. She was our whole life and now we haven’t got her anymore.
‘He never showed any remorse to Barry whatsoever. He is a murderer.’
She said she also rejected meeting Pistorius on medical advice because of the further anxiety it might have caused her.
Oscar Pistorius holds his head in his hands during the hearing of his murder trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa on March 13, 2014.
In between bouts of sobbing and retching, Pistorius sat with his head bowed, covering his ears with his hands and a white handkerchief during his trial for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in Pretoria, March 2014
The South African athlete, nicknamed Blade Runner after his racing prosthetics, is serving a 13-year sentence for the infamous murder on Valentine’s Day 2013, when he claimed to have mistaken Reeva for an intruder, shooting her through the bathroom door
Pistorius wrote a letter to them two years ago asking for forgiveness and apologising but they now regard his plea with disdain
‘I was very stressed and knew it would be a waste of time. Barry was in a state, and he had to be strong.
‘I said I couldn’t be responsible if I went because I might hurt him as I can’t stand him now. I hate him. I can’t help it.
‘He took away the only thing that really mattered to me in my life. Such a big thing that he took away. He assassinated her. That is what he did.
‘I did say that I forgave him before, but only because I am a Christian. I only forgave him because God would have wanted me to. I did back then . . . but I take it back now. He has done too much to us.
‘It drives me crazy too that, ten years on, he can’t accept what he did. He is spoilt and he was adored by young women and men the world over.’
Pistorius wrote a letter to them two years ago asking for forgiveness and apologising but they now regard his plea with disdain.
Mr Steenkamp said the four-page letter in blue ink contained ‘beautiful handwriting’ and added: ‘But I suppose he had all the time in the world to write it.’
It was not lost on the grieving parents that Pistorius did not sign off the letter ‘sincerely’ and merely ‘yours, Oscar.’
Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp during the Feather Awards held at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg on November 4, 2012
Mr Steenkamp revealed he told Pistorius that he wasn’t the only one in prison and that by robbing them of their daughter he had, effectively, handed her parents their own lifelong sentence.
‘I said to him ‘Don’t think it is just you in jail, we are in jail as well. We are prisoners as well just like you.
‘You are on the inside. But we do not go out, we don’t see people and our whole life has changed. So we are in prison just as much as you are’.’
He said he got ‘a fright’ when the killer walked into the room to meet him, but he hoped Pistorius would at last take this unique opportunity to admit he shot his daughter in a murderous attack.
But Mr Steenkamp added: ‘If he had admitted murder, he would have felt different today too. That part of it would have gone. But he has to live with his evil secret.
‘My own hate has gone. I don’t want to live with that all the time. It is not that I would want to become friends with him or anything like that. ‘He is wiped out of my life. I don’t want to turn in every night saying ‘The Bastard’ which is how I was originally.
‘He said the thought of slapping the killer had crossed his mind, but as a non-violent man he had speedily ruled this out.
But he added: ‘Giving him a slap wouldn’t have been worth it. I would have rather get in the ring with Tyson Fury. I would have got a good punching, but I would have felt better.
‘All I want to see is the law take its course. They must do it correctly and I am glad our lawyer challenged his parole, otherwise he would have been out a long time ago. He would have been freed, I am sure.
‘He hasn’t served half of his sentence. They had all the dates mixed up.’
Reeva Steenkamp’s parents Barry and June say they initially forgave the athlete for killing their daughter.
Reeva Steenkamp poses on set during the shooting of the reality show Tropika Island of Treasure which premieres on state television Saturday, February 16, 2013
Oscar Pistorius posing with Reeva Steenkamp at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, South Africa
The Steenkamp’s legal representatives have continually challenged the amount of time the gunman has served and must serve of his 13-and-a-half year sentence.
The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria sentenced him to six years in prison in October 2014.
The multiple Paralympic champion was initially found guilty of culpable homicide – an offense comparable to manslaughter – for shooting Steenkamp with his licensed 9mm pistol.
He claimed at his trial it was a tragic accident and he mistook her for a dangerous intruder.
But prosecutors appealed the manslaughter finding and secured a murder conviction.
Pistorius was sentenced to six years in jail for murder, then prosecutors again appealed what they called a shockingly light punishment for murder.
South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal then more than doubled his sentence in 2017 to 13 years and five months’ imprisonment.
This in effect meant that he would be eligible for parole in 2023 possibly a fortnight after the 10th anniversary of the February 14 killing, but the Steenkamps’ fresh condemnation of their daughter’s killer is likely to be taken into consideration by officials.
Mr Steenkamp also warned Pistorius he would also face intense public scrutiny and opposition when he eventually walks out of the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre.
‘He must realise that you just don’t walk into a pub . . . in some ways he will never be free.’
Mr Steenkamp talked of the stress he endured while meeting the man who shot his daughter dead as part of South Africa’s Victim offender dialogue system.
Barry Steenkamp said Pistorius broke down and ‘wailed like a child’ when he read out a heart-breaking letter from Reeva’s mother during their tense jail showdown
The Steenkamps have set up a charitable foundation in Reeva’s name to help battered women and Reeva’s mother is planning a refuge for victims of domestic violence
Pistorius seated himself on one side of a round table at St Albans Prison with the bereaved father opposite him.
‘It was like a conference room. He was a few feet away and he looked completely different. I got quite a fright.
‘He was clean-shaven, and he looked healthy enough but completely different to what we had seen at his trial. He looked like a prisoner. ‘But he is a good showman. I think he knows how to put it on when he must put it on. It was the first time I had seen him since he had been sentenced.
‘I asked him certain questions and he wasn’t answering them, so I thought there was no point in me carrying on with it.
‘I told him ‘If you deny it, we are finished. Then what more must I ask?’.
‘I was wasting my time and I told him ‘There is no good me talking to you right now. I haven’t got the answers I want’.’
He said his daughter’s killer was clearly remorseful over the shooting, but only because he had been found to be a murderer and the punishment he was receiving.
‘If he told me the truth, I would feel better. At least that part of it would have left me.
‘Say for instance if June and I had an argument and I get a gun and shoot her, but as I shoot her, I am remorseful and I am sorry that I did it. ‘I say he regretted shooting Reeva straight away and he knew he had to get out of it. If only, he had told the truth at the time, I am sure Oscar Pistorius would have felt a lot better today as well.
‘And a lot more people would have forgiven him. If he had admitted that he did it in anger, he would have been a different person today. But he has to live with it.’
The Steenkamps have set up a charitable foundation in Reeva’s name to help battered women and Reeva’s mother is planning a refuge for victims of domestic violence.
‘We’ll never forget the two chilling phone calls’: Reeva’s heartbroken parents on the moment ‘that changed their lives forever’
Barry and June Steenkamp will never forget two chilling phone calls on Thursday February 14, 2013, which came in quick succession and were to change their lives forever.
The first was from a police officer who told Mrs Steenkamp, coldly, that her daughter Reeva was dead, that Oscar Pistorius had shot her and police had detained him and the gun used in the slaying.
In shock she then called Reeva’s father who was driving and told him to come home immediately as Reeva had died.
He believed she may have said one of their pet dogs, but as he negotiated a U-turn in his truck, it dawned on him that his wife had mentioned Reeva and he drove back in shock and in tears.
What then followed was several years of seeing their daughter’s image flashed across the world as the victim of four bullets fired through a toilet door by the athlete known, affectionately until then, as the Blade Runner and global sporting icon.
He had won fame for his spirit in competing on the track at both the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and winning gold.
On returning to Pretoria he met Reeva and they began dating . . .the South African star runner and one of the country’s top models.
Her parents sensed Reeva was seeing somebody when for the first time since leaving home on the Eastern Cape for Pretoria, she told them she wasn’t coming home for Christmas.
But her parents later discovered she had spent Christmas alone as Pistorius took leave to spend the day with an ex-girlfriend.
Mrs Steenkamp also sensed things were not going as smoothly as they might between Reeva and Pistorius as we were told her repeatedly that they were arguing and fighting.
The grieving mother believed this was because Pistorius was a jealous man, possessive and mentally unstable.
She told MailOnline that she believed her daughter was shot dead deliberately because on that eve of Valentine’s Day, Reeva had told Pistorius their brief relationship was over and she was trying to leave his apartment when he attacked and shot her dead as she took refuge in his toilet.
At first the South African courts appeared to accept his pleas of ignorance about who was behind his toilet door and that he believed Reeva was blissfully asleep in his bed unaware of the alleged intruder.
He was found guilty of culpable homicide and given a six year jail term in October 2014.
But prosecutors appealed the manslaughter finding and secured a murder conviction. In September 2017 South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal more than doubled his sentence to 13 years and five months’ imprisonment.
Pistorius and the reality show star and model had only been dating for around eight weeks when he took Reeva’s life, claiming he thought he was defending himself and his girlfriend from an intruder.
But Pistorius was revealed to have been a gun fanatic who once fired a gun in in a restaurant while diners were at nearby tables and had 10 weapons, including an AK-47.
Stories of his terrible temper were revealed including one where he attacked a woman at a party after she rebuffed his overtures and talk of his star status.
The Steenkamps, deeply religious, prayed that he would be sent away for a long time and unable to harm any more women.
Now that the day he walks free is close and for them, they said , it had come too soon.
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