This is how double amputee and paralympian Oscar Pistorius described the fatal shooting of Reeva Steenkamp in an exclusive interview with Britain’s ITV that was rescreened on M-Net’s Carte Blanche show on Friday night.
The interview with ITV journalist Mark Williams Thomas – titled Oscar Pistorius: The Interview – was the first with Pistorius since he shot dead his model girlfriend through a bathroom door at his Pretoria home in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013‚ claiming he mistook her for an intruder.
“I got home just after 6pm‚ parked my car in the driveway and I walked to the front door. Reeva was smiling and giddy and just bubbly and…I could smell this dinner that she was making and‚ you could see that she was like very excited.
“And she’d laid the table like a really beautiful layout on the table‚ with a candle‚ and we ate. And afterwards we sat at the table and chatted for quite some time.
“And then she said ‘let’s just go lie in bed we can watch something in.. in your room’.
“And when I got upstairs the room was very humid.
“The air conditioning unit that was attached to my room wasn’t working. They were renovating outside of the home. And so I put the fans on.
“I had been to the physio two days earlier so I had my entire right shoulder strapped with tape.
“Usually I’d sleep‚ if you’re looking at the bed‚ on the right hand side‚ but I was sleeping on the left hand side. Because I couldn’t put weight on my right hand shoulder.
“When I came in the room I placed my firearm on the left hand side under the bed. And then she said “come on let’s go and brush our teeth” and I didn’t get up immediately and she called from the bathroom [smile] and she’s like “come baba you have to brush your teeth” [chuckles]
“So I’d taken my legs off. So I’m lying on the right hand side of the bed and my legs on the left and I don’t feel like walking across and getting them and everything. So I walked to the bathroom on my stumps and then she gave me this little smile you know‚ like a kind of‚ like‚ ‘right‚ I do… I’m the boss around here’ [smiles] type thing
“And so we sat in bed for a while and I said to her ‘listen if I fall asleep would you mind just closing the doors and switching off the telly?’
“And I pretty much fell asleep after that.
“It must have been shortly after 3 o’clock that I woke up.
“I’d opened my eyes. The curtains weren’t drawn closed and the sliding doors were still open. Reeva had forgotten to close them. She said ‘can’t you sleep baba‚ can’t you sleep babs?” or something like that and I said ‘No I can’t’. And I know‚ it was fairly half asleep type thing and I out up the side of me bed‚ I walked around the edge‚ corner of the bed. It was dark so I was feeling the side of my bed. I didn’t have my prosthetic legs on.
“The tripod fan was in the doorway and one of the plastic fans was pretty much where the legs are of the tripod stand. So you couldn’t close the doors without moving them.
“And I closed the doors.
“And by this point my back was towards the room and I got out the bed‚ Reeva was next to me‚ and I drew the blinds and the curtains and at this point it’s pretty much pitch black.
“I heard this‚ this noise coming from the bathroom. It was a sliding noise of the window frame hitting the frame.
“I’d known that they broken into the house‚ not even a couple of 100 yards from us with a ladder in the middle of the night. And I immediately got panicked. And the fans the whole time are running.. I couldn’t see behind me. It was pitch black in the room. And immediately‚ I freeze. This instant fear comes over me that there’s somebody in the house. Somebody was actually in the process of breaking in.
“And my first thing was thinking that I need to grab my firearm. If this person has already got into the house this window’s already reopen‚ it’s a matter of seconds before they’re in the bedroom. And I’m scared; I’m terrified and I get my firearm and I say to Reeva‚ I said‚ ‘call the police and get down on the floor. Call the police and get down of the floor.’ But I’m still whispering at this stage. I need to get between this intruder and Reeva. And I need to approach this person. Because if‚ I can’t run away without my legs. If I sit there and wait for them and this person comes out shooting…I needed to get to a point where I’m safe‚ but also where Reeva’s safe‚ and if she’s behind the bed and I can stand at the passage and look down the passage..then at least I’m between them and her.
“Basically on one of my hands‚ both my stumps and pointing the firearm. So I’m low down and I’m starting to shake and sweating and become.. Overcome with fear. And at that point I just entered into the passage and I start shouting and I start screaming get the fuck out of my house. Get out of my house. And I start screaming. And the more I start screaming the more scared I’m actually getting. The more like… the more‚ the more real this is feeling.
“And at that moment I hear the toilet door slam. There’s someone right here‚ round this corner‚ I’m now pretty much the half point between Reeva and them. She is not not armed. I don’t have time to get my legs back on‚ these people are definitely in the house already‚ if they come at me quick enough and they grab the gun or if I hesitate‚ they can use the gun on‚ on‚ on either of us.
“And I shout ‘Reeva call the police’. I’m trying to intimidate this person‚ to get out of the house. You know to climb out of the house‚ to get out of my home. And I’m swearing and shouting and I realise‚ the more I can see into the bathroom the greater the chance is that this person is right here round the corner. Right here‚ you know‚ where the basins are.
“And so…I’m petrified at this point I don’t want to stick my arm out if they can grab my arm‚ I just don’t have the balance to align the firearm. At this point I see the windows open. These things are running through my head…the window has just been opened‚ the door has just slammed. It’s the middle of the night. Reeva is right next to me in bed. I’ve got to stand there until we get help; until somebody comes‚ because I can’t go back to Reeva and then expose her and expose myself. I’m hiding behind the toilet entrance wall. I can see the toilet door. I don’t know if its one person‚ all I know is there’s somebody in my house. And all of a sudden I hear a noise‚ at the toilet. I presumed it was the toilet door opening and before I knew it I’d fired four shots.
“When the gun went off the echo in the bathroom was so loud‚ I couldn’t hear anything. So I was shouting at Reeva “phone the police phone the police!” and I was still screaming get out of the house get out of the house‚ and I couldn’t hear anything‚ it was just this ringing ringing ringing ringing and I’m now terrified And at that point I realise if Reeva‚ I can’t hear if Reeva is replying or not.
“I make the decision to walk backwards the whole way I don’t really know what’s going on And I get to the bed‚ and as I reach back and I can’t feel Reeva’s there‚ I get this‚ I get this chill over me. I look back and I see Reeva isn’t in the bed.
“And I start hitting on the duvet cover and I’m like Reeva‚ Reeva‚ Reeva and I thought ok.. A sense of calm came over me because I thought ‘she listened to me‚ she got down on the floor’. And I get down to the floor and I can’t feel her. So I start pulling everything apart and I start saying like‚ Reeva‚ Reeva Reeva and I’m like pulling my hand and I’m on my stumps now still‚ I was like pulling my hand across the curtain. Thinking like ‘lord please tell me she’s hiding behind the curtains’. And I get to the end of the curtains and my heart just sinks.
“I’m still scared that there’s an intruder in the house but I’m now mixed with another fear. So I rush on my stumps back as quick as I can to the bathroom‚ and I’ve still got the firearm pointed at the door. It’s locked. And I realise there is somebody inside there and they’re not answering me. And what if it’s Reeva? And I start shouting and I’m trying to rip the door‚ I don’t have any balance on my stumps. So I ran back to my room. I’ve still got the firearm in my hands and I’m trying to put on my legs as quick as possible‚ I ran back to the bathroom and I try‚ start kicking the door. I don’t know if I kicked it once or twice‚ I just kick and kick and I try to charge the door with my shoulder. And the door wouldn’t open. And I’m screaming now for Reeva and just start screaming ‘Jesus please god‚ please please please please please just don’t let this be what I think it is’.
“I need to get in this toilet to see if it’s Re. And if she’s not answering why isn’t she answering me‚ is she scared? Is she ok? So I ran back to the room down the passage to get the cricket bat and I start smashing down this door. I reach into the door to open the lock from the inside and I realise the key isn’t there. And I punch‚ I take one of the planks that’s now loose and I rip it out and then I can see Reeva is on the floor.
“And I’m screaming‚ I’m just praying for the lord‚ I’m like ‘God please please please please please please please.’
“And I opened the toilet door and immediately when I saw Reeva she was over the toilet. She’s.. she’d slumped over the toilet. And I [breaks down]‚ at that point I knew that I’d killed her. I knew that she was dead. And I went down on my knees and pulled her onto me. (Cries)
“And……I turned so I could get her out of the toilet cause I couldn’t pick her up in the small space. And I put her on the bathroom floor; and I pull the curtain.. the towel down for her head. And I just see blood and it’s just blood everywhere. [sobbing] It’s just blood everywhere… So much blood! [sobbing]
“..and I don’t know what to do. I try and pick her up. I’m trying to pick her up but there’s so much blood I can’t stand up.
“And I thought Reeva had started breathing‚ so I had my fingers in her mouth and I was trying to give her mouth to mouth‚ but there was so much blood. [sobbing‚ Oscar walks out]
“I don’t know if she felt pain or what she felt but what I did was terrible.
“..obviously the hurt it’s caused my family; the hurt it caused mutual friends‚ most of them that I used to have don’t speak to me anymore‚ some of them I’m grateful that they’re still in my life. But I see the pain it’s caused Re’s family and I don’t blame them.
“Reeva must have just gone to the bathroom. To relieve herself. And when I started shouting.. she must have thought there was somebody coming in the passage off the balcony. So she got scared and she closed the bathroom door and yet I’m thinking this is a confirmation of there being somebody in the bathroom. She just hears me shouting and me coming closer and closer to the bathroom;
“I don’t know‚ you can ask yourself a million times‚ why‚ why didn’t I just close the door before I went to bed? Why didn’t Reeva close the door? Why when she got up to go to the toilet just tell me? Why didn’t she shout at me from the toilet and all these things. I can’t say‚ why did she do them‚ she didn’t do anything wrong. But it’s difficult. It’s difficult to know if one of those small things didn’t happen that the situation would be different. And I would still have her here with me. “