- Arkansas voter ID law struck down by state judge
- FDA proposes ban on e-cigarette sales to minors
- Bad omen? Italian man crushed to death by John Paul II crucifix
- Company stopped from accepting abortion waste
- Girl surprises Michelle Obama with unemployed dad’s resume
- ‘Harry Potter’ religion class seeks to enlighten students on ‘God, sin, and theodicy’
- ‘Optionally piloted’ Black Hawk helicopter clears tests; future missions to go ‘fully unmanned’
- Vice News reporter kidnapped in Ukraine is freed after being beaten, blindfolded
- FCC’s new ‘net neutrality’ proposal sparks outrage among consumer advocates
- Families of ferry’s lost confront South Korean officials
Reeva Steenkamp, Oscar Pistorius’ girlfriend, cremated in private ceremony
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Reeva Steenkamp’s coffin was draped in a white cloth and carried by six pallbearers at a private funeral Tuesday, just a few hours before Oscar Pistorius said in a court affidavit that he mistakenly killed his girlfriend by shooting her through a bathroom door.
Ms. Steenkamp’s uncle, Mike Steenkamp, broke down in tears after the cremation ceremony under gray skies in the family’s hometown of Port Elizabeth on South Africa’s southern coast, saying between sobs: “We are here as a family, and there’s only one thing missing, and that’s Reeva.”
“We’ve got together, but we miss one,” her uncle said as he composed himself.
Family and friends gathered inside the white crematorium, which had a “Strictly Private” sign outside, to pay tribute to the law graduate, model and budding reality-TV star who died at Mr. Pistorius‘ house in the early hours of Valentine’s Day last week after being shot three times behind a locked door to the toilet.
Mr. Pistorius said in an affidavit, which was read out by his senior defense lawyer in court in Pretoria, that he loved her deeply and shot her in a tragic error because he thought she was a dangerous intruder in his house.
Prosecutors argue he intended to kill her after a fight, and he was charged with premeditated murder.
Ms. Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June Steenkamp, hugged mourners after the ceremony, which was closed to the media and the public on the wishes of the family. Singing could be heard from inside the building as reporters waited a short distance away outside the gate of the Victoria Park Crematorium.
Earlier, the 29-year-old Ms. Steenkamp’s wooden coffin, which had shining gold handles, the white cloth and white flowers on top, was taken out of a hearse and carried into the crematorium by funeral home staff wearing pink shirts and black jackets.
After the service, Mike Steenkamp and Adam Steenkamp, Miss Steenkamp’s brother, walked away from the small group of mourners — which included South African international rugby player Francois Hougaard — to offer a statement to television cameras near the entrance to the driveway to the crematorium.
“I won’t say very much,” Adam Steenkamp, who wore jeans, a white shirt and a black suit jacket, said. “There’s a space missing inside all the people she knew that can’t be filled again. We’re going to keep all the positive things that we remember and know about my sister.
“And we will try and continue with the things that she tried to make better. We will miss her. And that’s it.”
Ms. Steenkamp campaigned actively against domestic violence and wrote on Twitter that she planned to join a “Black Friday” protest by wearing black in honor of a 17-year-old girl who was gang-raped and killed in South Africa two weeks ago.
What “she stood for, and the abuse against women, unfortunately it’s gone right around, and I think the Lord knows that statement is more powerful now,” Mike Steenkamp said.
• Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell contributed to this article.
TWT Video Picks
- Holder cancels appearance in OKC amid angry protests
- In its hunt for Senate, Republican candidates campaign against Harry Reid
- Obamacare class-action suit opens a new legal front
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Opposition rising to Colorado gun control laws
- Nevada rancher's racial remarks cost him range of support
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014