Oscar Pistorius must pay for murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, her father has told a South African court. The crime has devastated the family.
The 29-year-old Paralympian gold medallist faces a minimum 15-year jail term, after his manslaughter conviction for the 2013 killing was upgraded on appeal. He originally received a five-year sentence.
Called to testify by the lead state prosecutor in Pistorius’s sentencing hearing, a tearful and trembling Barry Steenkamp said forgiving the runner was very hard.
“It just devastated us, I ended up having a stroke... I just don’t wish that to anybody in this world,” the 73-year-old said. “He has to pay for his crime.”
Mr Steenkamp said he and wife June had relied financially on their daughter, and he had hurt himself to try to relive the pain that his daughter went through: “I jabbed myself with needles.”
He asked the court to allow pictures of his daughter to be shown to the world as a deterrent to would-be killers.
Jonathan Scholtz, a psychologist called by Pistorius’ lawyer, told the court on Monday, the first day of the hearing, that the athlete was “a broken man”, on medication for depression, anxiety, and insomnia, who should be hospitalised and not jailed.
However, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said Pistorius has shown no remorse for killing Ms Steenkamp when he fired four shots through a locked door in his Pretoria home.
Mr Nel also said Pistorius had had temper tantrums while serving his sentence.
The case has prompted a fierce debate in a country beset by high levels of violent crime against women.
Some rights groups have said the white athlete has received preferential treatment.
Charlotte Mashabane, an assistant health manager at the prison where Pistorius was held for a year, told the court yesterday he “threw tantrums” while in prison and she felt threatened by him.
Ms Mashabane said Pistorius became angry when she declined to change his approved medication for medication supplied by his family, and that he had thrown some medicine on her table.
She also said there was no report of Pistorius being assaulted while in prison, as Mr Scholtz had asserted.
At his original trial, Pistorius argued that he mistook Ms Steenkamp for an intruder.
His manslaughter conviction was upgraded to murder, after an appeal heard by the Supreme Court, which ruled in March that Pistorius had exhausted all his legal options.
The original trial judge, Thokozile Masipa, is also presiding at the sentencing hearing, at Pretoria High Court.