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"Oscar Pistorius must pay for his crime" - Reeva Steenkamp's father makes emotional plea

The Paralympic athlete killed Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013.

Oscar Pistorius appears in the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa.
Oscar Pistorius appears in the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa.
Image: Deaan Vivier/Pool Photo via AP

REEVA STEENKAMP’S FATHER broke down in court today as he told a dramatic sentencing hearing that Oscar Pistorius must “pay for his crime” of murdering his daughter three years ago.

The Paralympic athlete killed Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013, saying he mistook her for a burglar when he fired four times through the door of his bedroom toilet.

In March, Pistorius’s lawyers failed to reverse an appeal judgement that upgraded his original conviction from culpable homicide — the equivalent of manslaughter — to murder.

“It has been very difficult for me to forgive… I feel that Oscar has to pay for what he did. He has to pay for his crime,” Barry Steenkamp, 73, said shaking with emotion and in tears.

Reliving how his daughter, 29, died, Steenkamp said: “What she must have gone through in those split seconds – she must have been in so much fear and pain. That is what I think of, all the time.”

“It must have been absolutely awful.”

Claims

South Africa Pistorius Sentencing Barry Steenkamp, father of Reeva Steenkamp, gives evidence. Source: AP Photo/Kim Ludbrook, Pool

He also said that he believed the couple had argued on the night of the murder – disputing Pistorius’s claims.

Pistorius held his head in his hands and appeared to be sobbing during the testimony at the High Court in the South African capital Pretoria.

Barry Steenkamp, a former racehorse trainer, described the chaos and panic when his wife June rang him at work early in the morning after Reeva, a model and law graduate, was shot.

“June grieves like I do, all the time. I hear her at night, I hear her crying, I hear her talking to Reeva,” he added, saying that June had tried to forgive Pistorius to help her cope with the loss of her daughter.

“You must still understand that he must pay for that, although June has forgiven,” he said.

Murder term

The original trial judge Thokozile Masipa is due to hand down a new sentence for murder after arguments from both prosecution and defence.

The hearing — held in the same courtroom as the original trial — is scheduled to last until Friday.

Pistorius faces a minimum 15-year jail term for murder, but his sentence could be reduced due to time already spent in prison and mitigating factors, including his disability.

He was released from jail last October to live under house arrest at his uncle’s mansion in Pretoria after serving one year of his five-year sentence for culpable homicide.

© AFP 2016

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