Reeva Steenkamp was a South African model and paralegal. On Valentine’s Day 2013, Steenkamp was killed by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius, who said that he believed she was an intruder hiding in the bathroom. Tonight on Dateline NBC, correspondents take a look deeper into the shooting that left Steenkamp dead.
Steenkamp’s family could be seen throughout the murder trial, giving statements to reporters and enduring horrific images and portrayals of what happened the night of Steenkamp’s murder. Steenkamp’s mother, June Steenkamp, was there throughout the entire trial.
When it comes to adaptations of the story, a previous Lifetime movie came under fire from the Steenkamp family, who has spoken out against the film. They said that they had no input in the film and were not sought out for comments or insights.
Pistorius and his family had the same concerns, causing Pistorius to pursue a lawsuit against Lifetime. Pistorius’ family members still maintain that the events of the night of Steenkamp’s death were the result of a tragic accident. Predictably, the Lifetime movie, which dubbed Pistorius the “Blade Runner Killer” was not endorsed by his family.
Here’s what you need to know about Steenkamp’s Family:
1. Reeva Steenkamp’s Parents Do Not Believe Her Death Was an Accident
Reeva Steenkamp had only been dating Pistorius for a few months when she was shot. She had not yet had the time to introduce her new boyfriend to her family.
Steenkamp’s parents do not believe that the events of the night were a tragic accident like Pistorius and his lawyers argued in court. Steenkamp’s mother June said that she believed the phone messages her daughter sent to Pistorius about being scared of him suggested that her death was more than an accident.
“She described exactly how she felt and that he wasn’t treating her properly,” June Steenkamp told Telegraph after Pistorius’ sentencing. “He was always irritable with her and snapped quickly, so that’s why we feel that it is not actually what happened.
Steenkamp’s father Barry had similar feelings about the murder of his daughter, but says that he accepted the court’s decision to charge Pistorius with culpable homicide under a South African law that could cause Pistorius to serve only 10 months in prison. When asked about the prison sentence, Barry Steenkamp responded that he’d accept the decision:
We have gone along with the judge and her decision. Only Oscar knows whether that sentence is acceptable to him, I’ve got my feelings about the whole thing but we do accept what the judge handed down.
They both agreed that Oscar Pistorius is the only one who knows what really happened that night and that he’d have to live with that for the rest of his life.
2. Her Mother Wrote A Book About Reeva
June Steenkamp wrote a book titled “Reeva: A Mother’s Story” that was published in 2014 by Sphere publishers. The book is a 288-page testament to Reeva’s life and details the court case and the night she was murdered.
The book’s description on Amazon details what is in the book:
In this painfully honest and unflinching account of Reeva’s life, she talks about what really went on in her mind as she sat in the packed Pretoria court room day after day and how she is coping in the aftermath of the verdict. Reeva is the only true insider’s account of this tragic story.
Written by June Steenkamp, the novel is supposed to take a look at what went on behind the scenes in Steenkamp’s relationship with Pistorius. It also details what the real Steenkamp was like, away from the photoshoots and the attention she received in the media. The book has an average of 4-star reviews on Amazon.
3. Steenkamp’s Father Was a Horse Trainer
Barry Steenkamp, Reeva’s father, was an avid horse trainer before suffering a series of strokes following his daughter’s death. He did not attend Pistorius’ original trial on advice from his doctor.
Steenkamp was a thoroughbred horse trainer who sometimes struggled to make a living in Port Elizabeth, where Steenkamp grew up. Reeva Steenkamp would sometimes help pay the bills for her parents when they’d fallen on hard times.
Prior to his daughter’s murder, Barry Steenkamp was known in the community for his involvement as a part owner of Potala Palace, a horse that won the country’s biggest race for 2 year old horses in 2011.
4. They Condemned the Lifetime Movie About the Events
Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer does not have the blessing of either Pistorius’ family or that of Steenkamp. The movie is told through June and Reeva Steenkamp, but the family says they were never contacted to help with the movie or give input in any way.
The family released a statement condemning the film:
They are horrified and upset to read a report that ‘the movie is told from Steenkamp and her mother’s perspective.’ June Steenkamp was not approached by Lifetime to participate, comment or be part of the making of the film, and did not give the producers any assistance. Any impression that is created that this is June’s view, or that the movie is endorsed by the Steenkamp family, is untrue and incorrect.
The Lifetime movie description reads that the movie is based on a true story and public records. The website also states that the families did not participate in the making of the movie.
5. Steenkamp’s Brother Lives in the United Kingdom
Steenkamp had 2 half siblings, one brother named Adam Steenkamp and a sister named Simone Steenkamp. The siblings both moved from South Africa to England years before Steenkamp was murdered.
Despite reporting publicly that they’d decided to forgive Pistorius for what he did because of their religion, the siblings believe that Pistorius’ story was untrue and he lied to save himself during the trial. Simone Steenkamp told Daily Mail during the trial that Pistorius was trying to convince the court that he and Reeva had been very close and he cared for her. She went on to say that Pistorius was a “disgusting liar.”
Adam and Reeva had a close relationship even though he lived thousands of miles away from her. He has 2 children, and they had been looking forward to seeing their aunt when she planned a trip to England. He said he regularly communicated with his sister over texts and emails but that they’d last spoken a few months before her death.