'Pistorius Is Lying His Head Off. He Shot My Sister in a Fit of Rage' in a Blistering Interview, Reeva's Family Reveal Their Horror at 'Smirking' Oscar EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Barbara Jones Talks to Simone Steenkamp in Pretoria

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), April 13, 2014 | Go to article overview

'Pistorius Is Lying His Head Off. He Shot My Sister in a Fit of Rage' in a Blistering Interview, Reeva's Family Reveal Their Horror at 'Smirking' Oscar EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Barbara Jones Talks to Simone Steenkamp in Pretoria


AS OSCAR Pistorius gave his account of the night he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, claiming it was a tragic accident, he repeatedly retched and broke down in histrionic, heaving sobs.

A few feet away in the Pretoria courtroom last week, June, the grieving mother of the beautiful 29-year-old model, sat in dignified silence, her eyes fixed on Pistorius's face. Her remarkable composure faltered only rarely, when she wiped away tears.

But back at their home in Port Elizabeth, 710 miles away, her family are far from composed. They are deeply, devastatingly angry.

Despite the dignified Christian words of forgiveness they spoke before the trial, they now firmly believe the Paralympian is simply trying to save his own skin, to avoid a life sentence for murder.

In an exclusive interview with The MoS, Reeva's sister Simone says they are in no doubt that Pistorius is a liar.

'He is trying to convince the court that they were really close and that he cared for her. It's not true. He is a disgusting liar.' Her feelings towards him hardened as she sat in the courtroom alongside her mother at the start of the trial, in which she witnessed what she regards as his arrogance. 'It was so scary,' she says.

'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.' To find an outlet for their feelings, the Steenkamps plan to open a shelter in Reeva's memory for women who are victims of domestic abuse. But before that, there are three more weeks of the trial to endure.

Pistorius, 27, spent every day last week in the witness box under gruelling cross-examination. The double amputee denies deliberately killing Reeva in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year by firing four shots at her through a toilet door at his home, claiming he thought she was an intruder.

Simone, 48, who has given up her career and life in England to live with her parents in South Africa since Reeva's death, says the family tried to offer forgiveness to Pistorius before the trial began, but that her feelings had changed over the past three weeks.

'It has been such an eye-opener for me,' she says. '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 wouldn't be able to control my feelings. I would be sobbing, distraught and angry listening to his continuing lies.' While her mother June has stoically returned to court each day, Simone has had to stay at home in the Port Elizabeth countryside, where she cares for her father Barry as he recovers from a stroke brought on by his grief. They live on a modest smallholding down a dirt road, far from the glamour of Port Elizabeth's resort area.

Barry has said he does not want to be in court every day but he watches it obsessively on television in a tiny room next to the kitchen.

From morning until late at night, he is glued to South Africa's dedicated channel 199, first watching the live trial and then the analysis of the day's evidence by experts.

He is determined to make one appearance before the end of the proceedings to look Pistorius in the eyes. 'When I feel strong enough I'll go there to ask him one thing - "Why? …

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'Pistorius Is Lying His Head Off. He Shot My Sister in a Fit of Rage' in a Blistering Interview, Reeva's Family Reveal Their Horror at 'Smirking' Oscar EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Barbara Jones Talks to Simone Steenkamp in Pretoria
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