JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Just weeks before South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius is due to face trial on charges of murdering his girlfriend, he posted a Valentine’s Day message on his website, calling the shooting a “devastating accident.”
The killing of Reeva Steenkamp, which took place on Valentine’s Day last year, and the subsequent charges against Pistorius shocked South Africans. A bail hearing attracted massive global media attention.
“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,” said the athlete, who rarely makes public statements or appearances.
Pistorius told last year’s hearing that he mistook Steenkamp for a burglar and fired shots through the door of a toilet cubicle off the bathroom where she was concealed. The prosecution accuses him of killing Steenkamp in anger during an argument.
In a tweet, Pistorius called Friday’s statement “a few words from my heart.”
“The pain and sadness -- especially for Reeva’s parents, family and friends consumes me with sorrow,” Pistorius said on his website. “The loss of Reeva and the complete trauma of that day, I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
Pistorius, a double amputee dubbed South Africa’s “Blade Runner,” made Olympics history as the first sprinter to compete using prosthetic blades. His trial is due to begin next month.