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Final drive, last smile

Sean O'hare, Dan Newling And Mark Duell
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

GRINNING broadly behind the wheel of her car, this is Reeva Steenkamp in the last image captured of her.

Just hours later, the model was dead, allegedly murdered by boyfriend Oscar Pistorius.

The picture is taken from CCTV footage that shows the 29-year-old arriving at the luxury housing complex where Pistorius lived.

Miss Steenkamp is seen grinning as security guards let her drive her Mini Cooper into the Silver Woods estate on the outskirts of Pretoria just before 6pm.

Ten minutes later, Paralympic champion Pistorius is also shown arriving in his white BMW.

He uses a lane that is further away from the CCTV camera and it does not capture his facial expression.

The 30 seconds of footage was broadcast on South African television last night.

According to police, soon after the recording was taken the couple started arguing so loudly that his neighbours heard them 'shouting and screaming'.

Then, in the early hours of Valentine's Day, Pistorius allegedly took out his gun and shot Miss Steenkamp in the head, hip and arm as she hid in the bathroom.

Pistorius, 26, claims he mistook her for an intruder.

The television channel also broadcast a brief interview with Miss Steenkamp's parents, Barry and June, from their home in Port Elizabeth.

In it, Mr Steenkamp said: 'It's only Oscar Reeva that know the true story. All I want is that he must just come out with the honest truth.'

Mrs Steenkamp added: 'We can't come to terms with this. This is going to be for ever.'

The pair's uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said yesterday that Oscar being released on bail was 'only the beginning of a long road to prove that... never intended to harm Reeva'.

Despite Miss Steenkamp's smiles, her ex-flatmate revealed that she felt so 'caged in' by an 'impatient and moody' Pistorius in the early days of their relationship that he was forced to tell him to 'back off'.

Cyril Myers, whom Miss Steenkamp lived with in Johannesburg, told South Africa's City Press that Pistorius at first seemed polite but then began to start putting pressure on Reeva.

He claimed it got to the point where Mr Myers had to intervene. He recalled their first date, shortly after she broke up with her former boyfriend.

'She went with Oscar to a sports-awards evening. And after that he wouldn't leave her alone. He kept pestering her, phoning and phoning and phoning her.

'Oscar was hasty and impatient and very moody - that's my impression of him. She told me he pushed her a bit into a corner. She felt caged in. I told her I would talk to him.

'I told him not to force himself on her. Back off. He agreed, but his face showed me what he was thinking: "Oh, this guy is talking nonsense." He did cool down a bit.

'Then they started going out steadily, and she was more at his home. I once talked to her about Oscar's moodiness. She didn't answer me.'

Pistorius has been charged with premeditated murder in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day.

A text from Miss Steenkamp to Mr Myers on the night she was shot revealed that she did not intend to stay the night but changed her mind because she did not want to drive home as it was late.

The athlete denies murder, saying he killed her accidentally. He said he opened fire after mistaking Miss Steemkamp for an intruder in his home.

It also emerged on Sunday that police told Reeva's family that Oscar Pistorius crushed his girlfriend's skull with a cricket bat before shooting her dead.

Oscar Pistorius claims he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead by accident believing her to be an intruder at his home

The brothers' lawyer Mr Oldwage successfully defended Sizwe Mankazana, who was charged with culpable homicide, reckless and negligent driving and driving under the influence of alcohol after he lost control of his vehicle, killing Nelson Mandela's 13-year-old great-grandchild Zenani in 2010.

It has also emerged that the athlete sported a mysterious black eye in a video filmed a month ago for a charity campaign.

The Paralympian lent his support to a South African campaign for gay and lesbian youth. But charity bosses were surprised when he turned up for filming with a black eye.

In the video message recorded to raise awareness for the It Gets Better campaign in South Africa, Oscar instructed young people who were being bullied about their sexuality to 'not retaliate'.

An It Gets Better charity source told the Sunday Mirror: 'Oscar turned up on the day of filming with a very angry looking black eye.

'Oscar was keen for the filming to still go ahead and didn't seem to mind too much. Although eyebrows were raised, Oscar wasn't forthcoming on how he managed to get the injury.'

Oscar Pistorius, meanwhile, spent Saturday at his uncle's home in an affluent suburb of Pretoria, the South African capital, after a judge released him on bail on Friday.

While on bail, he is expected to take delivery of a £200,000 supercar. He ordered the 204mph 3.8-liter McLaren MP4-12C Spider last month as a treat to reward himself for a successful year, The Sun reported today.

Details of the post-mortem examination of South African model Steenkamp were withheld from last week's bail application hearing.

But grieving relatives who saw her body before Tuesday's cremation in Port Elizabeth described horrific injuries from the cricket bat, and entry wounds from 9mm bullets fired by Pistorius.

They were also briefed about the model's death by police and lawyers from the state prosecutor's office.

In a sworn affidavit read to the bail hearing in Pretoria magistrates' court last week, Pistorius claimed that he used the bat to break down the toilet door after the shooting, saying he had not realised his girlfriend was in the bathroom.

The bloodstained bat, which is currently being examined by a police forensics team, will be key evidence when Pistorius goes on trial for premeditated murder.

The 'Blade Runner' - who has previously boasted about having a cricket bat, pistol and machine gun at home to defend himself against intruders - claims the bat became blood-spattered at the scene.

Last week the prosecution did not mention any details about the bat and the role they believe it played in Reeva's death, opting not to disclose their case against Pistorius.

But to secure bail, Pistorius's legal team had to detail his defence, which included why he had a blood-spattered cricket bat in his possession on the fatal night.

The athlete claims that during the night he heard a noise in the bathroom and feared it was an intruder.

Pistorius, 26, said he felt 'vulnerable' without his prosthetic legs, so he got a gun from under his bed and fired through the bathroom door, shouting at the 'intruder' to get out of the house and for Reeva to call the police.

At that point Pistorius thought she was still in bed.

Pistorius described his 'horror and fear' as he realised Reeva was not in the bed, and said he used the bat to break down the toilet door to find Reeva slumped inside the cubicle.

He said he called paramedics and then carried Reeva, 29, downstairs, trying to revive her, but she died in his arms.

The Observer reported that the uncle of Pistorius, Arnold Pistorius, has said the star will try to make contact with Reeva's grieving family.

'We don't want to put him under pressure but while we were in the car, that is what he said,' Arnold told eNews Channel Africa. 'The family of Reeva is in his mind all the time and he knows his purpose would be to be part of the family in future.'

Yesterday, Reeva's father Barry Steenkamp said that the athlete would have to 'live with his conscience' if he is lying about how he killed her.

He told Afrikaans-language newspaper Beeld: 'It doesn't matter how much money he has and how good his team of lawyers is, he must be able to live with his conscience if he allows his team of lawyers to lie on his behalf.

'He will have to live with his conscience. But if he speaks the truth, I can perhaps someday forgive him. If it does not happen as he tells it, he must suffer.'

In another interview, Reeva's mother June said: 'Everything has been taken away from me in such a terrible way. The only thing that matters now is the truth.'

Pistorius's family believe him to be innocent, with his father Henke saying he had 'zero doubt' that Reeva's death was a tragic accident.

In an earlier interview, Henke said: 'When you are a sportsman, you act even more on instinct. It's instinct, things happen and that's what you do.

'When you wake up in the middle of the night, and crime is so endemic in South Africa, what do you do if somebody is in the house? Do you think it's one of your family? No, of course you don't.'

In a statement yesterday Pistorius's family said: 'Oscar will never be the same...having to live with the knowledge he caused the death of the woman he loved, and that he can never undo the immense pain and loss this has caused Reeva's family and friends.'

Having been released from bail after the gruelling four-day hearing, Pistorius was yesterday spending the day with his family at a secret address in Pretoria provided by his legal team.

His uncle Arnold Pistorius said: 'We are convinced Oscar's version of what happened that terrible night will prove to be true.'

Today, if his athletics coach Ampie Louw has his way, Pistorius could be back in training at the track at the University of Pretoria. He was last there earlier this month with Reeva, who watched admiringly as he was put through his paces.

Friends have spoken of the need for a suicide watch on the sportsman as he spends the next four months preparing for his court appearance on June 4.

Meanwhile, South Africa's top detective Lieutenant General Vinesh Moonoo is taking over the role of chief investigator in the case, after Hilton Botha stepped down from the post.

Detective Botha resigned after seven charges of attempted murder against him were reinstated. He and three other officers shot at a minibus of escaping murder suspects in 2009.

nSource: Daily Mail





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