PRETORIA, South Africa (AA) – A witness has told Pretoria High Court that Barry Steenkamp, father of the woman killed by Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, is a broken man who feels guilty of failing to protect his daughter.
“He has the guilt of a father not being able to protect his daughter. It has been very difficult for him,” the victim’s cousin Kim Martin told court on Wednesday during the third day of Pistorious’s sentence hearing.
Martin said her family was devastated after Reeva Steenkamp’s murder and the family would never be the same again.
“As a family we will never be able to carry on like normal,” she said.
Martin said she saw her 73-year-old uncle, Barry Steenkamp, cry for the first time during his testimony on Tuesday.
Barry Steenkamp told a judge that he and his wife June had forgiven Pistorius for killing their daughter, but added that the former athlete must pay for his crime.
“You must understand why forgiving doesn’t exonerate you from the crime you committed,” an emotional Barry who often broke down in tears said in his testimony in court.
On Monday, defense witness, clinical psychologist Professor Jonathan Scholtz, claimed that Pistorius was a broken man, suffering from anxiety and depression following his dramatic fall from grace.
But Martin’s testimony seemed to remind the court that Reeva’s father was the actual broken man who had lost a daughter who was a law graduate and a model with a promising future.
Victim ‘didn’t love’ Pistorius
Martin also said she did not think Reeva loved Pistorius because she never mentioned it her despite the cousins being close to each other.
“I don’t think she loved him,” Martin said, adding that she thought the 29-year-old model just had a soft spot for the double-amputee athlete.
The sentence hearing for Pistorius began on Monday.
Arguments between the state and defense will conclude today and a ruling is expected to be issued Friday.
Pistorius, 29, was initially sentenced to five years for manslaughter in 2014 but had his conviction overturned last December when state lawyers appealed the matter after he was released on parole having served one year in prison.
The Supreme Court of Appeal found he was guilty of murdering Steenkamp and ordered a fresh sentence.
The athlete killed his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day of 2013, when he fired a gun four times through a locked toilet door at his Pretoria home.
Under South African law, a murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence with a minimum of 15 years.
The double amputee, known as the ‘Blade Runner’ for his athletic achievements, maintains that he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder when he opened fire.
Pistorius won a gold medal at the Athens Paralympic Games at the age of 17, turning him into a national hero. In 2012, he became the first amputee runner to compete in the Olympics.
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