Adam Steenkamp, 39, is the half brother of Reeva. He moved to England in his teens and now lives with his partner and two young children in Suffolk
On Friday (12 September), Oscar Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide, the equivalent of manslaughter in the UK, after he fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day in 2013.
A sentence of life in prison is now off the table, but the former Olympic and Paralympic athlete could still face up to 15 years behind bars.
However, those facts have brought little relief to the Steenkamp family, not least to the late model’s British brother Adam Steenkamp, 39, who believes that Pistorius effectively “got away with murder” and denounced the sportsman’s testimony in court as a “grotesque pantomime”.
“In my heart I know he has got away with it. He has got away with murder,” he told the Mail on Sunday. “I don’t understand the logic of acquitting someone of murder who fires four rounds into a very small toilet cubicle. It is not the action of someone not intending to kill.”
The rest of his family, however, including his father, have remained calm and solemn throughout the judicial process.
“You try not to be too angry because that seems the wrong thing to do. We are looking for the positives and what can come out of this and make things better instead of worse.
“This case in a very strange way has opened a window into people’s lives in South Africa, the way they feel they need to defend themselves with extreme force. People need to think about this.”
His parents divorced when he was three and Adam moved to England in his teens. He told the Mail he kept in close contact with June (his father’s second wife and Reeva’s mother) and his father Barry. Barry, he said, had suffered a stroke and visibly aged during the traumatic 18 months since Reeva’s death.
Speaking of Barry’s reaction to the verdict, he said: “He was still in Pretoria surrounded by friends and family. I asked him how he was and he just said, ‘I’m OK’.
“He is such a strong man, he can hold up. But it has broken quite a large part of his heart.”
He went on to describe the athlete as a broken man, and one who he felt, echoing the words of Judge Thokozile Masipa, was a poor witness on the stand.
“The world was watching,” he said. “We were not fooled. The man was scared and that is understandable. I am sure what was on his mind was that he was going away for the most useful years of his life.”
“When I saw him vomiting and crying I just thought, ‘Man up. Man up.’
“Our tears are a lot more real, they are heavier. Crying about his lot wasn’t going to change anything. He is a man and it was time for him to stand up and take it on the chin. It was disappointing to see him not do that. It looked like he was acting.
“The very least one could accept is the verdict of culpable homicide. It would have been crazy if he had walked free having killed someone.”
Questioned over what he would ask Pistorius if he was granted access to the athlete, he told the publication he would say: “What happened? How on earth could you have such a failing, and a capacity to do something like this?
“There can only be two reasons: absolute intent or a bad mistake. It is very hard to speak your mind when there is a judge up there – and the judge is there for a reason.
“I wouldn’t argue that the law hasn’t been applied but maybe the law is out of touch with reality, especially in that country.”
Adam had been looking forward to a visit from Reeva to the home he shares in Suffolk, England with his partner and two young children.
“We had a wonderful connection and missed each other incredibly in the times between seeing each other,” he said.
Becoming tearful, he later described being asked to scatter his sister’s ashes over the Indian Ocean.
“It was very humbling. I didn’t ask to. It was given to me to do and in a way I felt I was supporting my dad and June.
“They were so distraught and I was very touched and quietly supporting them. When I scattered the ashes into the sea I was thinking, ‘See you again, Reeva.’”
Pistorius was released on bail until the 13 October, when his sentence will be delivered.