Sports lovers and soft-hearts-news-hungry worldwide are in for a shock at the court verdict – South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius has been cleared of murder over the killing of his model girlfriend though a final verdict on culpable homicide, which is an equivalent to manslaughter, remains to be issued.
In a ruling announced in Pretoria on Thursday, Judge Thokozile Masipa said the 27-year-old amputee athlete could not have foreseen he would kill the person behind the door, his 29-year-old girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. The South African double amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius was the accused, and the victim was a beauty with a kind heart – Reeva Steenkamp.
Oscar Pistorius was once a poster boy for disabled sport. After the killing, he had been stripped of lucrative endorsement deals by global brands and withdrawn from all competition.
Who was Reeva Steenkamp?
She was 30 years fashion model and Oscar was 26 when they were seen for the first time together at the South African Sports Awards in 2012. She had strong ideas against women’s abuse and violence. An irony of circumstances – she was scheduled to deliver a lecture to schoolchildren of Johannesburg the day she was killed. Topic – “Her experience with abuse from a previous relationship.” Hours before the speech he got the last call of her life.
Born in Cape Town, she was brought up in Port Elizebeth, studied at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, SA. She was a working model and used to appear for South African version of men’s magazine FHM.
She also worked for the ad campaigns of TOYOTA clothing giant ZUI. Her friends and co-workers described her as a ‘talented’, ‘angelic’, ‘funny’, ‘inspiring’ and ‘intelligent’. She had started her modeling career with AVON Cosmetics.
She was well behaved, self-confident, social and outspoken. Tweeting was her favorite hobby. Her last tweet: “I light a candle for each person I miss on X mass eve and NYE and have a little chat to them. They hear us;)”
She described herself on Twitter like this: “SA Model, Cover Girl, Tropica Island of Treasure, Celeb Contestant, Law Graduate, Child of God.” Steenkamp had been voted one of the 100 Sexiest Women in the World by FHM magazine in 2011 and 2012, also had a high profile before her untimely death.
A celebrity beauty falling in love of a double amputee sprinter is not impossible, but it was news. It was not bizarre but it reflected a tender and sympathetic heart that brims with the milk of human kindness.
How her kindness was rewarded? With the bullets of one who was at the receiving end of at all that compassion?
Court answered that question today. The half-year trial has fed intense media interest worldwide, with live broadcasts veering into the realm of television reality shows. Nearly 40 witnesses testified, including Pistorius, who broke down, weeping and at times vomiting as he described how Steenkamp’s head “exploded” like a watermelon under the impact of his hollow-point bullet.
Prosecutors had described the double amputee sportsman as an egotistical liar obsessed with guns, fast cars and beautiful women, who was not prepared to take responsibility for his actions.
The sprinter didn’t deny that he had killed Steenkamp, but questioned why he did it. He said he thought he was shooting at an intruder and that Steenkamp was safely in bed.
The prosecution said he killed her in a fit of rage after an argument.
By: Naim Naqvi
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