The sister of Reeva Steenkamp has said that she and her family believe that Oscar Pistorius is not telling the truth about what happened on the night he shot and killed his girlfriend.
Simone Steenkamp branded the Olympic athlete a “disgusting liar” who is trying to avoid a life sentence as he stands trial for the murder of the 29-year-old law graduate and model.
Speaking from her parents' home in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Ms Steenkamp said: “He is trying to convince the court that they were really close and he cared for her. It's not true. He is a disgusting liar.”
Ms Steenkamp, who attended the start of the trial alongside her mother June Steenkamp, said that she was not convinced by Pistorius' show of remorse for the shooting on Valentine's Day last year.
“It was so scary,” she said in an interview with the Mail on Sunday.
“My heart stopped as he walked past, ignoring us. I like to think his heart stopped too. He knew we were there but he almost lost his balance and fell over when he saw us.
“Then he sat in the dock, smirking. He killed my sister and yet he still seems to be enjoying his celebrity status.
“During the adjournments he marched around as if he was still a star while my mother and I just wanted to hide away. I don't understand how anyone could commit that act - kill someone - and behave like that.”
Pistorius, 27, spent all of last week on the stand being cross-examined. The so-called Blade Runner admits killing Reeva but denies murder. He says he fired his gun after mistaking her for an intruder. The prosecution says he deliberately killed her after an argument.
Ms Steenkamp, 48, said her whole family tried to forgive Pistorius before the trial began, but that her feelings had changed during the past three weeks.
“It has been such an eye-opener for me,” she said.
“Until I walked into the courtroom it hadn't really hit me that Reeva was dead, that I'll never again see her coming through the door, bouncing around, being in charge of us all like she used to be.
“Sitting there beside my mother in that formal setting, with the whole proceedings aimed at finding the truth about the night she died, I finally took it in and it almost destroyed me. I couldn't go there for more than a day.
“I wouldn't be able to control my feelings. I would be sobbing, distraught and angry listening to his continuing lies.”
Ms Steenkamp, who moved from England to live with her parents in South Africa following her sister's death, has been staying at home with her father Barry Steenkamp, while her mother attends the trial every day. Mr Steenkamp watches it on television.
Ms Steenkamp told the Mail on Sunday: “As the court adjourned for the weekend, the prosecutor Gerrie Nel was in the middle of questioning Pistorius about whether Reeva screamed when he was shooting her. I admire his persistent questioning and he is right to focus on that point.
“I believe that she was screaming and that he knew it was her he was shooting. I believe they were arguing and that he is an insecure, unpredictable man who might have been thinking he couldn't live without her if the row ended badly.
“So he picked up his gun and shot her in a fit of rage, and now he is lying his head off in the witness box, saying that Reeva didn't scream to let him know she was behind the toilet door.
She continued: “Our Reeva was very vocal, very assertive. Some people might go quiet when something terrible is happening, but not Reeva. She would have screamed. I know she would.
“She was a loving, outgoing girl who always spoke up about her feelings, she didn't hold back. She had lived her life until then in safety and security and would not have felt panicked into silence.”
Ms Steenkamp said her family had been devastated to see images shown to the courtroom of Reeva after she had been shot.
“I can't bear to think of her last moments. It was a terrible shock to see photographs of her head shown to the court.
“And all the time Pistorius is crying and vomiting in front of us. My poor mother somehow has to endure this day after day. She is being so strong while this is breaking her up inside. She feels strongly that she must be there for Reeva.”
She added that the family just wants the truth about what happened on the night Reeva was killed.
“Why can't he [Pistorius] end this agony for all of us who loved Reeva, and just tell the truth? That's all we want, the end of this trial and some closure at last.”
The trial continues.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies