Thu, Feb 28, 2013 - Page 20 News List

Pistorius holds private memorial for Steenkamp


Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee South African track star who ran in the London Olympics, held a private memorial service on Tuesday for Reeva Steenkamp, the 29-year-old model that he has been accused of killing.

Pistorius was charged with murder after Steenkamp was shot in his home on Feb. 14. The 26-year-old, who says he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder, was released on 1 million rand (US$113,000) bail on Friday last week. The conditions of his release included surrendering his guns and passports, abstaining from alcohol and not leaving Pretoria without permission.

“I can confirm the memorial service took place,” Janine Hills, chief executive officer of Vuma Reputation Management, which is representing the athlete, said by telephone yesterday. “I cannot give any more details or say who attended it.”

The service, which was announced because of a “leak” to the media, was held at the home of his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, Vuma said on Tuesday, requesting privacy.

The athlete, known as the “Blade Runner” because of his prosthetic running blades, met prison officials on Tuesday to discuss visiting rights as Steenkamp’s family appointed lawyers to protect their interests.

Pistorius is free to move around Pretoria at specific times during the week, Vuma said in an e-mailed statement.

“The bail conditions of Oscar Pistorius do not specifically state that he has to report to Pretoria’s Brooklyn Police Station,” the statement said.

Steenkamp’s parents appointed attorney Mike Venter and senior advocate Dup de Bruyn to “act as a shield” for the family, De Bruyn said by phone from Port Elizabeth, on South Africa’s southern coast.

The death and investigation have been on the front pages of most South African newspapers since Feb. 15, the day after Valentine’s Day, when Steenkamp was slain.

“This is a very sad and traumatic time for us,” Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June Steenkamp, said in a statement e-mailed by De Bruyn on Tuesday. “Therefore, for the time being, there will be no interviews or discussions with the media whatsoever.”

Pistorius is considering asking the court to ease the bail conditions, his lawyer Kenny Oldwage said.

These include a probation officer providing weekly reports on Pistorius’ mental health and emotional state to the South African National Prosecuting Authority and his defense team, the statement said. His curfew is 7pm from Monday to Friday, 2pm on Saturday and 1pm on Sunday.

Since the shooting, Pistorius has lost sponsorships with Nike, the world’s largest sporting goods company, Luxottica Group’s Oakley and Clarins’ Thierry Mugler perfume brand.

Pistorius is next scheduled to appear in court on June 4.

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