PRETORIA, South Africa - Reeva Steenkamp’s parents will repay $10,300 in secret “blood money” given to them by Oscar Pistorius, their lawyers said in a statement Wednesday as the Olympian attended the third day of a sentencing hearing over the model’s killing. The cash was paid in 19 monthly instalments by the double-amputee sprinter in advance of a possible civil law settlement over Steenkamp’s fatal shooting in February 2013 because her parents, Barry and June, “were in financial difficulties,” the statement said. However, the family has decided not to pursue a civil claim and so the money will be returned, it added.
Details of the payments were revealed Tuesday by a probation officer who was giving evidence at a week-long hearing to decide whether Pistorius will go to jail for culpable homicide — similar to manslaughter — for killing the 29-year-old law graduate in a hail of bullets at his home. The runner told his trial that he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder. The "Blade Runner" also offered a lump sum of $34,000 but the Steenkamps rejected it as “blood money,” the court heard. The Steenkamps agreed to Pistorius’ request for secrecy over the monthly payments, Wednesday’s statement said. “We were therefore quite surprised yesterday when this fact was disclosed in court without any prior warning to us” by a defense witness, it added. The Steenkamps said the decision to repay the cash had been made “during the past few weeks.”
- Cheryll Simpson and Alastair Jamieson