UK & World News

  • 7 March 2014, 10:04

Two Families Share Pain Of Pistorius Trial

Inside the crowded courtroom at the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius there are two sets of relatives enduring the distressing evidence as they sit awkwardly together on the same wooden bench.

At one end are the relatives of Reeva Steenkamp, the 29-year-old model and law graduate who was killed by the gunshots Pistorius fired.

At the other end are members of the athlete's family, usually his brother Carl and sister Aimee among them.

The gulf between them, particularly when a grieving June Steenkamp, Reeva's mother, attended the first day of the trial, pointedly unacknowledged by Pistorius, has seemed unbridgeable.

But in a pause in the evidence on Thursday, Aimee Pistorius approached Ms Steenkamp's cousin, Kim Martin, to talk.

For a moment the two women spoke quietly together with Kim briefly placing her hand on Aimee's arm, apparently to reassure her.

Then the families returned to their separate huddles as the trial resumed.

It is hard to imagine what both families are going through as they listen to the grisly details of the injuries Ms Steenkamp suffered, forced to re-live her final moments time and again in court.

The couple had only been dating for a few months when the shooting happened so during their relationship their relatives had not developed any real bond.

The model's friends and relatives say they just want the truth to emerge, for justice to be done and, above all, they want to make sure Ms Steenkamp is not forgotten amid the courtroom drama.

Some are wearing badges showing Ms Steenkamp's face in court.

For Pistorius' relatives, there is the grim knowledge that he shot and killed his girlfriend, even if he believed he was firing at an intruder that night.

There is also the stress of seeing the 27 year old they know so well, once revered as a sporting icon in South Africa, tense and frequently weeping in court as he faces a life sentence for murder.

One life has been cut short and one man is on trial, but so many others are affected by this case.

In the brief few seconds they came together, Kim Martin and Aimee Pistorius stepped away from the adversarial court process and recognised each other's suffering.

It was a brave, very human moment, and a reminder that whatever the outcome of this case there are two families that will never be the same.

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