'Blade runner didn't look me in the eye': mother of Oscar Pistorius' victim
June Steenkamp says 'Blade Runner' didn't acknowledge her at his trial
The Guardian in Pretoria
The mother of Reeva Steenkamp, the woman shot dead by Oscar Pistorius, has told how the Paralympic athlete failed to acknowledge her outside his murder trial.
June Steenkamp, whose model daughter died at Pistorius' home on Valentine's Day last year, had never met the sportsman before but attended court on the trial's first day on Monday in the hope of looking him in the eye.
"I wanted to see him and him to see me," Steenkamp - who travelled to Pretoria from her Port Elizabeth home - told ITV News. "But he didn't look at me or anything. He just walked straight and looked ahead."
Steenkamp stared at Pistorius for long moments but he never returned her gaze. He spent most of the day writing notes and avoiding looking at the public gallery. "The whole point was he must see me, that I'm there," she said. "I'm her mother and you know, what happened to her was terrible. And I wanted him to see me there, that I am there representing Reeva."
Steenkamp spoke from her guesthouse on Monday night after hearing Pistorius insist in court that he had not intended to kill his girlfriend. He claims he shot her four times through a locked toilet door because he thought she was an intruder.
Steenkamp, 67, said she could forgive the "Blade Runner" for what he had done.
"I'm not a person who hates another person," she said. "One has to forgive otherwise I will sit with all that anger and I don't want it to burn me up. One has to forgive. We'll never forget."
As the trial continued yesterday, the court was told that Pistorius had fired a gun in a restaurant, grazing a friend's foot, and then asked someone else to take the blame.
Professional boxer Kevin Lerena testified that Pistorius fired a bullet under a table at an upmarket Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013, the month before he shot dead Steenkamp at his home.
"A shot went off in the restaurant, then there was just complete silence," Lerena, 21, said.
"I looked down, and just where my foot was stationary, there was a hole in the floor," said Lerena, testifying about one of three other gun-related charges against Pistorius.
"I had a little graze on my toe. I wasn't hurt or injured," he said, but added that "there was blood".
The Paralympian apologised profusely, then asked another friend, the gun's owner, to take the blame. "Please, I don't want any attention around me. Just say it was you," he pleaded, according to Lerena.
Apart from denying intentionally killing Steenkamp, Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to the gun-related charges including one of firing a gun through a moving car's sunroof and to illegal possession of ammunition.
The state is expected to use these incidents to illustrate past reckless behaviour in their argument to prove the runner planned to kill his girlfriend.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse