PRETORIA, South Africa Feb. 14, 2014 -- The family of Oscar Pristorius' slain girlfriend refused to react today to Pistorius' anniversary insistence that the Valentine's Day shooting of Reeva Steenkamp was a "devastating accident."
Earlier this week thethe Steenkamp family issued a statement saying, “Without offending the media, or any well-meaning persons, we would like to ask that our privacy be respected during this difficult time.”
The family remained silent in the wake of Pistorius' public comment.
Pistorius issued his statement on the anniversary of Steenkamp's death. His remarks also come about two weeks before he goes on trial charged with her murder in his Pretoria home last year.
The legless Pistorius, known as "Blade Runner" for his paralympic racing, said, "No words can adequately capture my feelings about the devastating accident that has caused such heartache for everyone who truly loved - and continues to love Reeva.
"The pain and sadness – especially for Reeva’s parents, family and friends consumes me with sorrow. The loss of Reeva and the complete trauma of that day, I will carry with me for the rest of my life," he wrote.
As Pistorius’ legal team continues their preparation for what is touted in South Africa to be “the trial of the century,” it remains unclear how Steenkamp’s family will mark the day. Her parents June and Barry Steenkamp sent out their own statement earlier this week stating that June and other family members will attend the trial. No one from the Steenkamp family was present during Pistorius’ earlier court appearances.
The Steenkamps also said they will set up a foundation to honor Reeva’s passions, which included helping the poor and abused.
Both families have asked that their privacy be respected on this day, with Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold, saying he does not wish to comment on how they intend marking “the intensely sad anniversary that the 14th of February has become. Our plans are private and we ask that the media respect this.”
Pistorius, 27, will be asked to plead to four charges when his trial kicks off on March 3, one for murder and three for firearms-related charges. The prosecution will set out to prove to the female judge and her two assessors that he intentionally set out to kill Steenkamp during a rage-fueled argument.
Pistorius does not deny that he fired four shots through a locked bathroom door, hitting Steenkamp three times inside the bathroom. But he insists he acted in self-defense after mistaking her for an intruder during the middle of the night.