15 Oct 2014

Is this the most dramatic moment in Pistorius sentencing?

Reeva Steenkamp’s cousin cries while testifying about how she first heard on a car radio that Oscar Pistorius had shot and killed his girlfriend.

Kim Martin said she had “hoped to God” that Pistorius was cheating on her cousin and that the woman he had shot was not Reeva.

“They hadn’t confirmed the name, they said his girlfriend,” Ms Martin recalled as she cried on the witness stand.

“I remember the minute he said his name I jumped up in the front seat. And I froze and the next words were ‘allegedly shot his girlfriend’. And I remember saying to my husband ‘I hope to God he is cheating on Reeva.”

Ms Martin was the prosecution’s first sentencing witness, and the first member of Steenkamp’s family to testify at the trial, which began seven months ago.

Her emotional testimony, which caused the judge to rule a brief adjournment, dealt in detail for the first time at the months-long trial with the impact of the Valentine’s Day killing on Steenkamp’s family.

“I had to do this. I had to do this for Reeva. I owe it to her. I know Reeva needs a voice and it is my way for being able to pay her back for what she went through.”

Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, was shot four times by Pistorius in the pre-dawn hours of 14 February 2013.

The double-amputee Olympic runner was found guilty of culpable homicide for negligently killing her, but acquitted of murder after claiming he mistook her for an intruder in his house.

“It is terrible. I would say it has ruined our whole family. It has ruined uncle Barry and auntie June. Reeva was everything to them.”