Oscar Pistorius sentence: Reeva Steenkamp's cousin says model's death was 'the end of the world' during emotional testimony

Kim Martin said model's death has 'ruined our whole family'

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The Independent Online

Reeva Steenkamp's cousin gave an emotional account of the moment her family learned of the model’s death, telling a South African court: “It was, for me, the end of the world”.

Kim Martin broke down into tears just minutes after taking the stand as the first state witness when she recalled hearing that Oscar Pistorius had been arrested on the radio for shooting his girlfriend.

She gave an emotional account of the moment her family learned of the model’s death, telling a South African court: “It was, for me, the end of the world”.

The athlete was found guilty of culpable homicide by Judge Thokozile Masipa last month and is being sentenced this week. Pistorius, 27, faces up to 15 years in prison for shooting Ms Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013, although he could also receive a suspended jail sentence and a fine.

In a testimony punctuated with sobs, Ms Martin told the High Court in Pretoria she was in the middle of rush hour traffic when the news broke and remembered hoping the Paralympian athlete had been cheating on Ms Steenkamp.

The court was briefly adjourned to allow Ms Martin to compose herself before she continued giving testimony.

“We arrived at my mother's house and I could see the minute we arrived my mother was hysterical and then I knew,” Ms Martin said, before bursting into tears.

Describing the events after the shooting, Ms Martin said Reeva’s mother June Steenkamp was hysterical and heavily medicated.

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Oscar Pistorius leaves the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

“She just walked around shrugging her shoulders all the time. My Uncle [Barry Steenkamp] sat in the corner just crying. Crying, crying.

“It's ruined our whole family. It's ruined Uncle Barry and Auntie June. Reeva was everything to them," she said. "They absolutely adored her; they were so proud of her, what she had accomplished.

"She looked after them so well, not just finacially."

She recounted meeting Pistorius for the first time in Cape Town in January 2013, where the family shared a meal together. When he left to go take a call, Ms Martin asked her cousin if she was happy. She said Ms Steenkamp replied: "Yes, but we need to talk.

"That has bothered me for ever since then," she told the courtroom. "That I never said, what did you mean?"

Many of those present in the court were reduced to tears by her testimony as she described the impact Reeva’s death had on the whole family.

Ms Martin said she has undergone trauma counselling and has taken medication for depression. Her children also received counselling after the incident and her daughter was even sent to a “youth institution” to help her cope.

She said Mr and Mrs Steenkamp had given their blessing and told her she must be Reeva’s “voice” on the stand.

Ms Martin also revealed Reeva assisted her parents financially with money she made from her modelling career. On Tuesday, it emerged that Pistorius had been paying the Steenkamp’s a monthly sum to assist with their living costs.

The sentencing hearing was adjourned until Thursday.