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Pistorius 'consumed with sorrow' one year after shooting girlfriend dead

It’s 12 months since Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead in the athlete’s home.

The athlete's message on his website today, one year on from the shooting.
The athlete's message on his website today, one year on from the shooting.
Image: Denis Farrell

SOUTH AFRICAN PARALYMPIC sprint star Oscar Pistorius said today he was consumed with “sorrow” as he marked one year since he shot dead his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day in what he maintains was an accident.

In a case that grabbed international headlines, the world-famous double amputee, 27, shot Reeva Steenkamp through his toilet door, claiming he mistook her for an intruder at his upmarket Pretoria home.

Prosecutors allege the shooting was premeditated murder and the track legend known as “Blade Runner” will go on trial on the charge on 3 March, in what is expected to be one country’s highest profile cases.

“No words can adequately capture my feelings about the devastating accident that has caused such heartache for everyone who truly loved — and continues to love Reeva,” Pistorius wrote on his personal website.

“The pain and sadness – especially for Reeva’s parents, family and friends consumes me with sorrow,” said Pistorius, breaking his long silence since he shot dead his model lover — an aspiring actress.

“The loss of Reeva and the complete trauma of that day, I will carry with me for the rest of my life,” he said in the message signed simply “Oscar”.

He also posted a link to the message on Twitter, describing it as “A few words from my heart”. It was the first time he has used his official account on the social networking site since 12 February, 2013, two days before the shooting.

Steenkamp’s relatives were set to gather on Friday in private to mark the anniversary of her death.

“We will release balloons in her memory,” her uncle Michael Steenkamp told AFP. “They will be red and white, her favourite colours.”

‘It only gets worse’

Saying that “nothing will ever be the same”, Steenkamp’s mother June, who lives in Port Elizabeth east of Cape Town, told The Times newspaper that she would attend next month’s trial.

“Yes, I will be at the trial. For me, for us and for Reeva, but it will not bring back our beautiful baby,” she said. ”It never gets easier. In fact, it only gets worse.”

In two memorial adverts in the classified section of the Cape Times newspaper, family members paid tribute to “our angel in heaven”.

“We miss you so very much but know that you are in the arms of our Lord,” said relatives in Cape Town.

Family based in the United Kingdom said: “We will never forget that tragic Valentine’s Day. God came and picked His most beautiful flower to take to heaven.”

The Valentine’s Day horror sent shock waves around the world, polarising crime-weary South Africa around whether one of its national heroes was guilty of murder, or whether it was a heartbreaking accident.

South Africa Pistorius Settlement A mourner carries a programme at the funeral of Reeva Steenkamp last year. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Steenkamp, a blonde cover girl and law graduate, was shot in the head, elbow and hip through the locked bathroom door of Pistorius’s home.

The athlete, who earned his nickname for the fibreglass prostheses he uses in competition, was born without calf bones and had both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old.

He catapulted to fame at the 2012 London Olympics as the first double-amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes.

But details of his reckless past and love of fast cars, beautiful women and guns emerged in the media after he shot Steenkamp. One newspaper dubbed him the “Blade Gunner”.

Pistorius will also answer charges for discharging a firearm on two separate occasions before Steenkamp’s death.

“We will be glad when this is all over… we really do hope that all of this is over quite quickly,” her father Barry told Port Elizabeth daily The Herald.

The case has stopped the athlete’s participation in athletic events and ended lucrative endorsement deals with US sportswear giant Nike and French cosmetic firm Clarins.

- © AFP, 2014

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