Pistorius talks of sorrow a year after Steenkamp shooting

JOHANNESBURG Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:29pm EST

1 of 4. South African ''Blade Runner'' Oscar Pistorius (R) is escorted by police at a Pretoria police station February 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius on Friday broke his months-long silence about the shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, calling her death at his hands a year ago a "devastating accident".

Pistorius, who goes on trial on March 3, says he shot Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder at his high-security home last Valentine's Day. State lawyers say he killed her in cold blood.

"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 said in a brief statement posted on his website.

"The loss of Reeva and the complete trauma of that day, I will carry with me for the rest of my life," said the athlete, who is on bail but could face life in prison if convicted.

The 27-year-old double-amputee, known as "Blade Runner" for the prostheses he wears in competition, was one of South Africa's most revered sportsmen but his shooting of Steenkamp has divided national opinion on whether it was premeditated.

It has also highlighted South Africa's high rate of violent attacks on women, including rape, which rights groups say are often perpetrated by partners or other people known to them.

On Friday, the women's league of the ruling ANC party led a march in the capital Pretoria to commemorate Steenkamp's death, with many participants holding up posters denouncing violence against women. "Pistorius must rot in jail," one poster read.

In a statement, the league said its march was intended to make communities aware of the "barbaric conduct against women and children" in the country.

Private news channel eNCA ran an anniversary documentary in which Steenkamp's friends and family recounted how the law graduate turned model was vocal about such issues.

Police say 107 witnesses are expected to testify for the prosecution in Pistorius's trial. The state's case is that he intended to kill Steenkamp when he shot her in the head, arm and hip.

Last October, prosecutors said the Paralympic medalist, who also competed in the 2012 Olympics, would face two additional gun-related charges related to prior incidents in which he allegedly fired a gun in a public space.

(Additional reporting by Dinky Mkhize; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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Comments (6)
Naksuthin wrote:
In the US he could have used the “stand your ground” law and gotten off the hook. Her words against his…and as long as he can say “I thought my life was in danger”,…presto…a get out of jail free card

Feb 14, 2014 6:44am EST  --  Report as abuse
Bklyn1 wrote:
And so what? Because you are now scared to go to jail for life and plead on the pity of your legs not your grandious drug addictions and selfish obsessions we should forgive and forget that you killed a perfectly innocent beautiful young vibrant woman who only loved and supported you, did not look down on you, until she could take no more of your madness. So you killed her through a locked door. If you give him a slap on the wrist, you All should fear for your own families future. Disgusting how he is coddled.

Feb 14, 2014 8:20pm EST  --  Report as abuse
sorrymess wrote:
guns again cause more troubles than they are worth,.

Feb 16, 2014 7:00am EST  --  Report as abuse
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