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Pistorius Trial: June Steenkamp Backs Athlete's Apology Claim

Olympian sprinter Oscar Pistorius posing next to his girlfriend  Reeva Steenkamp at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg. South Africa's Olympic sprinter Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius was taken into police custody on February 14, 2013, after allegedly shooting dead his model girlfriend having mistaken her for an intruder at his upscale home.
Olympian sprinter Oscar Pistorius posing next to his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg. South Africa's Olympic sprinter Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius was taken into police custody on February 14, 2013, after allegedly shooting dead his model girlfriend having mistaken her for an intruder at his upscale home. WALDO SWIEGERS / AFP - Getty Images file

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The mother of Oscar Pistorius’ victim intervened in his murder trial Friday, backing up the athlete’s claims that he tried to apologize in private.

In a message relayed through prosecution lawyer Gerrie Nel, June Steenkamp confirmed that Pistorius had made an approach to the Steenkamp family to say ‘sorry’ in a private face-to-face meeting.

Pistorius has never formally met the family of Reeva Steenkamp, his girlfriend whom he fatally shot on Feb. 14 last year. The pair had been in the early stages of a relationship when the shooting happened.

On Thursday, Nel launched a blistering attack on Pistorius’ decision to make a dramatic apology across the courtroom to Reeva’s parents, who have attended every day of the murder trial.

Nel accused the double amputee of creating “a spectacle” and questioned his motives for making the move in public rather than approaching the family in private.

Pistorius responded that he had attempted to do so but that the family had indicated it was too soon for a meeting.

At the start of Friday’s evidence, Nel said he had received a message from June Steenkamp confirming that the family had rejected a private approach because they were “not ready.”

Pistorius began a third day of cross-examination on Friday, after two days in which prosecutors tore into his character and his behavior.

On Thursday, Nel said it was "impossible" to believe Pistorius’ claim that he could not know his girlfriend was in the bathroom when he fired four shots through the door.

“Your version is a lie,” Nel said.

Pistorius admits killing Steenkamp but denies murder, claiming he mistook her for a burglar. The trial continues.

- Alastair Jamieson

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