Oscar Pistorius trial: Reeva Steenkamp's mother 'obsessed' with watching 'hero to devil' athlete - 'I don't know if he's acting'
June Steenkamp has said she finds it difficult to determine if the athlete's distress is genuine or whether he is acting during the trial
The mother of Reeva Steenkamp has spoken of her personal "hell" during the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius, who shot and killed her daughter on Valentine’s Day last year.
Ms Steenkamp said she has become “obsessed” with watching the athlete as she tries to deduce whether the visible distress of the man she says has gone from a “hero” to “devil” is genuine or an act.
“I'm obsessed with looking at him, it's just instinctive, I can't explain it,” she said. “I keep thinking: 'Let me see how he's taking this.'”
The 67-year-old, who had never met Pistorius before the trial, has sat for weeks and watched as the prosecution attempts to determine whether the athlete shot his model girlfriend four times through a locked bathroom door deliberately or because he mistook her for an intruder.
An emotional Pistorius has been seen shaking, vomiting and crying uncontrollably in court, while Ms Steenkamp has sat listening to harrowing details from the night her daughter died.
“He has been very dramatic, the vomiting and crying,” Ms Steenkamp said. “I think he's just about keeping himself together. I don't know whether he's acting.”
She told The Mirror how difficult it has been to attend the trial and “face up to what is going on” after her “wonderful, beautiful" daughter was killed.
“It’s very traumatic when certain things come up. This is my child – and I must listen to the graphic detail.
“I look at Oscar the whole time, to see how he is coping, how he is behaving. I don't know the man. All I know is what he's done. He must see me there in the court, he must feel my eyes boring into him, I think it makes a lot of difference.”
Ms Steenkamp said she has dismissed a note sent by Pistorius’ family describing how “sorry” they are for her loss and extending offers of support, saying “it won’t bring my daughter back.” The public apology from the athlete when he took the stand for the first time this week also left her “unmoved” and she had been prepared for it by her lawyers.
Ms Steenkamp, who said she has been trying not to break down in court, described the pain she felt from witnessing one particular picture during the trial that will stay with her “until the day I die, I promise you.”
“I don’t want to be crying in public. I’m a private person. I like to keep my feelings to myself,” she said.
“I’m being strong for Reeva, I have to be there. It’s hard for me to do it, but I’m representing my child.
“I keep it all in and when I get back to the hotel it all comes out and I break down.”
Ms Steenkamp insisted: “I don’t care what happens to Oscar, I don’t even care if he goes free.
”All I know is that he has to stand up to what he’s done and – if he has to – pay for it.”
Pistorius, 27, claims he mistook the sound of his girlfriend in his locked toilet cubicle for a potentially volatile intruder, and fired four shots through the door.
Prosecutors argue he intentionally shot and killed the 29-year old model following a domestic dispute.
There are no juries at trials in South Africa and Pistorius's fate will ultimately be decided by Judge Masipa, assisted by two assessors.
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