Barry Steenkamp never stopped grieving for his precious daughter Reeva, who was brutally murdered in cold blood at age 29, fatally shot by South African double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius through a closed toilet cubicle door in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day 2013.
And as the shock news broke last week that the lovable 80-year-old had died in his sleep on 14 September, it was left to Reeva’s brave mum June to pay tribute to the family’s much-loved patriarch.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the sudden and peaceful passing of Barry Steenkamp,” said the Reeva Steenkamp Foundation in a statement on its Facebook page. “Barry was a blessing to many, and he will be remembered with love and great fondness. We find solace in the knowledge that he is now with his beloved Reeva.”
After suffering two strokes during the murder trial of his only daughter, who was a successful model and law graduate at the time of the shooting, Barry never found closure. His death comes 10 years and seven months after his whole world came crashing down – the day he lost his youngest child.
FACING THE MURDERER
Coming face to face with your child’s murderer is something no parent should have to endure. So when Barry chose to meet six-time Paralympic gold medallist Pistorius, 36, last year as part of a programme that gives victims a chance to confront offenders who have applied for parole, he again urged the disgraced athlete to confess to intentionally shooting Reeva after an argument.
“I told Oscar directly that he had shot my daughter deliberately and he denied it,” Barry said in an interview about his confronting one-on-one meeting with his daughter’s killer. “He stuck to his story that he thought it was an intruder.
WAITING FOR ANSWERS
“After all these years, we are still waiting for him to admit he did it in anger. That is all we wanted. If he told me the truth, he would have been a free man by now and I would have let the law take its course over his parole. But I was wasting my time. He is a murderer. He should remain in jail.”
While Barry and June initially forgave Pistorius, it has since been reported they had a change of heart and publicly stated before Barry’s death that they wanted Pistorius to remain behind bars for life.
As the Steenkamp family continues to grieve and while June is left to fight for her daughter without Barry by her side, it remains to be seen if Pistorius will be a free man next August, when he becomes eligible for parole.
Barry never got answers from Pistorius and after years of grappling with unimaginable grief, in the end, many would agree that he died of a broken heart.