The South African former Paralympian athlete, Oscar Pistorius, who took the life of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has said he believes his late girlfriend would want him to engage in charity work, rather than return to prison for killing her.
Pistorius, who is awaiting a jail sentence for murdering Steenkamp was speaking for the first time in a television interview since the shooting in 2013.
In his interview with the British broadcaster ITV, the South African insisted that the 2013 shooting was not intentional adding that he agrees with those who felt he should pay for his crimes.
“At times I don’t feel like I should have the right to live for taking someone else’s life. What’s difficult is dealing with the charge of murder,” he said.
The once revolutionary Paralympian Pistorius, today is a troubled character. Initially, he was sentenced to just five years and spent one year in jail before being released to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest. Critics leveled at the justice system saw him going back to court to answer for murder rather than the initial culpable homicide verdict.
If found guilty of murder, the former athlete could serve up to 15 years in prison, which is the minimum sentence for murder in South Africa.
“I did take Reeva's life, and I have to live with it,” the 29-yeal old said through tears but added that he did not want to “waste my life” behind bars. “If I was afforded the opportunity of redemption I would like to help the less fortunate like I had in my past.” The sprinter and double-amputee known as the “Blade Runner said.” “I would like to believe that if Reeva could look down upon me that she would want me to live that life.”
In the interview, Pistorius maintained the same account he has given of the shooting that resulted in the death of Steenkamp, a 29-year- old model and law graduate on February 14, 2013, Valentine’s Day, inside his gated home in Pretoria.
He regretted Steenkamp’s death arguing that it was a tragic accident that was caused by his genuine belief that someone was in the process of breaking into the apartment. He picked his firearm and headed to the bathroom where he thought he heard the noise. In his mind, Pistorius had left his girlfriend in bed and had even whispered to her to get down and call the police.
He shot four times at the ‘intruder’ only to return to his bedroom to find Steenkamp was missing. After a fruitless search under the bed and behind the curtains, he returned to the bathroom.
“I opened the toilet door and immediately when I saw Reeva she was over the toilet. And I [breaks down], at that point, I knew I’d killed her. I knew she was dead,” Pistorius said amid tears.
South Africa’s supreme court of appeal which overruled lower court original verdict is not amused by Pistorius’s testimony, describing the defendant as untruthful and a “very poor witness.”
On his part, Steenkamp’s father Barry said his daughter’s murder had distressed their family. Barry, who is agitated by the dangers of firearms allowed Steenkamp’s photos of the wounds to be circulated.
“I want the world to see. I want the world to see the photos of the wounds inflicted on her. To know my daughter’s pain. To know what her last few seconds were like, so that this is stopped - so that others do not have to go through this ever,” he told the court.
Image credit: ITV