Oscar Pistorius guilty: Reeva Steenkamp's family weep as verdict delivered

The family were devastated when the Olympian was cleared of murder

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The Independent Online

Reeva Steenkamp’s friends and family wept as Oscar Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide today as the long-awaited verdict fell far short of what they called justice.

Their 29-year-old daughter’s death was not murder, according to Judge Thokozile Masipa, who called the killing “negligent” and accepted Pistorius’ defence that he believed she was an intruder.

The Olympic athlete’s relatives were also in tears but the mood was overwhelmingly of relief after the ruling on four charges brought the six-month case closer to an end.

Arnold Pistorius, Oscar's uncle, who has assumed the role of family patriarch, shared an embrace with his nephew, while Ms Steenkamp’s friends and family continued to cry.

Her best friend, Gina Myers, her mother and sister broke down as Judge Masipa wrapped up her verdict.

Oscar Pistorius court.jpg
Oscar Pistorius walks past Reeva Steenkamp's family

The 29-year-old was shot four times through the toilet door, hitting her head, arm and hip in rapid succession.

Ms Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, died almost instantly of her injuries on Valentine’s Day 2013.

She had been in a relationship with Pistorius for just three months after the pair me t in November the previous year.

Ahead of the final verdicts on Friday morning, protesters gathered outside South Africa’s High Court to demonstrate against what they see as a failure in justice by clearing Pistorius of murder.

The ANC Women’s League is among those who have supported the Steenkamp family throughout their ordeal.

Days before she was shot dead by her boyfriend, she had tweeted support for a campaign against domestic violence in South Africa.

On her Twitter page on 13 February 2013, she announced her support for a “Black Friday” campaign urging South Africans to wear black in honour of thousands of women raped and killed in the country, often by their partners.

According to her friend Miss Myers, who was in court today, she wanted to use her rising profile as a model and girlfriend of the then well-loved Pistorius to promote awareness.

“A couple of days before she passed away, she was saying how people were so ignorant of the fact that (violence on women) is going around,” Miss Myers told Reuters, the week after her friend was shot.

Kerry Smith, who knew Ms Steenkamp in her growing law career, said they had planned to start a firm to help abused women after graduating.

“She wanted to save everyone, wanted to protect everyone,” said Ms Smith.

“She was more than just a pretty face, she had a beautiful heart and ambition.”

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