Oscar Pistorius trial: Reeva Steenkamp’s mother says “I can forgive” (video)

March 4, 2014

June Steenkamp (at left) wipes a tear as the murder trial Oscar Pistorius begins Monday. (Themba Hadebe/ AP / Pool)

The mother of the woman who was shot to death by Oscar Pistorius last year says she is prepared to forgive him and only wants “the truth of what happened” so that she can remove “bitterness” from her life.

Speaking with the “Today” show on the second day of Pistorius’s murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, June Steenkamp said she wants to know why the double-amputee Olympic sprinter fired a gun four times through the bathroom door of his home on Valentine’s Day 2013, killing her daughter. Pistorius is on trial for premeditated murder in the death of Reeva Steenkamp, his 29-year-old girlfriend of three months. He pleaded not guilty Monday and says the shooting was an accident that occurred when he mistook her for an intruder.

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June Steenkamp, who said she never met Pistorius during her daughter’s brief relationship with him, attended the first day of the trial Monday because “I wanted to see Oscar face to face and [so] that he would know that I was there. … I wanted people to see that I was there. My husband has ill — he’s had a small stroke and he can’t go there.  I wanted to be there for my daughter.”

Steenkamp said that “the important thing in my life is trying to live without her now” and that involves not giving Pistorius’s fate much thought or considering whether he is telling the truth.

“I’m going to depend on the justice system that we get justice and we get answers, and I’ve got confidence in that,” she said. “It’s not going to matter anything to me whatever happens to him because she’s never coming back, and it’s not going to change anything as far as that goes.

She hopes only for the truth to emerge during the trial, she said, and reportedly returned to her Port Elizabeth home. “We want the truth of what happened,” she said. “Only she and Oscar were there, and she’s not here anymore. … That’s all we want is the truth.”

Steenkamp said she wishes Pistorius no harm and believes that forgiveness is important “because I don’t want to live with bitterness in my life. It’s just going to turn itself into my being and I don’t want that. I think one has to forgive, even though — if he made a mistake — and it’s an enormous mistake — and I’ve lost the most precious thing in my life, myself and my husband, our daughter, our beautiful daughter. We were close, we were very close. I’ve lost everything that’s important to me, but still I can forgive. I can forgive.”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Marissa Payne · March 4, 2014