East Lancashire's June Steenkamp speaks ahead of Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial (From Blackburn Citizen)
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East Lancashire's June Steenkamp speaks ahead of Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial
Updated 9:45am Monday 3rd March 2014 in News
THE East Lancashire mother of Oscar Pistorius’s girlfriend said she will look the double-amputee Olympian in the eye when his murder trial starts in South Africa today.
Model Reeva Steenkamp’s mother June, who was brought up in Blackburn, has spoken of her desire to look Pistorius, 27, in the eye when he stands in the dock at a Pretoria courthouse.
Athlete Pistorius shot 29-year-old Miss Steenkamp dead on Valentine’s Day last year at their home, claiming he thought his girlfriend was an intruder. He denies murder.
Mrs Steenkamp, 67, told a national newspaper: “I want to look at Oscar, really look him in the eyes, and see for myself the truth about what he did to Reeva.
“And whatever the court decides at the end of his trial, I will be ready to forgive him.
“But first I want to force him to look at me, Reeva’s mother, and see the pain and anguish he has inflicted on me. I feel I need that.
“I know many people in my position would want to see him dead or badly punished.
“But I believe in faith and justice and I don’t have any hatred or revenge in my heart. That’s not my way.
“I would rather pray for him and pray that my family can get through this terrible time.”
Mrs Steenkamp lived with her parents, Harold and Irene Marshall, in Heys Lane until around 1969, before moving to a bungalow in Langho and then eventually to South Africa.
Despite her daughter’s relationship with Pistorius, Mrs Steenkamp said she never met him when he was going out with Reeva, and had only spoken to him on the phone once.
She said: “I knew she was excited to be in a relationship with him and I knew he was famous and adored on and off the athletics track.
“But the only time I spoke to him was when Reeva phoned me from his car one day and pleaded with me to tell him to drive more slowly. I told her to give him the phone.
“I warned him that if he hurt my baby in any way I would wipe him out.”
Pistorius has described the shooting as a ‘devastating accident’, but the prosecution are expected to argue he fired shots through a bathroom door, killing her, after an argument.