Cousin tells Pistorius hearing world ended with Reeva's death
Reeva Steenkamp's cousin tearfully remembered an idyllic childhood spent with the law graduate and model, painfully recalling "the end of the world" when Oscar Pistorius shot her dead.
Kim Martin told the South African judge -- now weighing Pistorius's punishment for unlawfully killing Steenkamp -- of a caring and "fun-loving child" who would become the face of a tragedy that shocked the world.
Martin recalled how Reeva was the first baby she ever held, and of a joyful childhood filled with horse-riding and caring for injured animals.
Martin said the young Steenkamp once cared for a paralysed poodle named Jade, who she carried around, serving as its "legs".
As Martin recounted her cherished memories, Steenkamp's father Barry broke down in court, his shoulders shaking.
Pistorius sat in the dock, also wiping away tears.
Through her good marks at school Steenkamp got a bursary, Martin said, in testimony designed to underscore the severity of Pistorius's crime.
"Aunty June was very strict, Reeva wasn't allowed boyfriends," said Martin, adding that Reeva later became involved in an emotionally abusive relationship before she met Pistorius.
Martin said Steenkamp gave her very first pay check from modelling to her parents -- who always struggled financially -- to pay for her schooling.
Martin recalled driving to work and listening to the radio on Valentine's Day 2013, the day Reeva died.
When the announcer said that Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend, Martin remembered thinking "I hope to God he is cheating on Reeva."
When Martin saw her distraught mother she knew it was Reeva. "For me it was the end of the world."
Asked why she was testifying, Martin fought through the tears: "I must be Reeva's voice."
"I had to do this for Reeva, I owe it to her."
© 2014 AFP