, JOHANNESBURG, Feb 18 – The family of Oscar Pistorius’s slain girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Monday prepared to hold a funeral service for the 29-year-old model, as her bereaved mother pleaded for answers about the death of “the most beautiful person who ever lived”.
The former cover girl, who was shot dead at Pistorius’s luxury home in Pretoria on Valentine’s Day, will be cremated on Tuesday in her home town of Port Elizabeth, in a private ceremony for family and friends.
Pistorius, a double amputee who became a sporting hero to millions when he competed at the Olympics last year, has been charged with killing Steenkamp and will appear in a Pretoria court on Tuesday for a bail hearing.
In an interview published on Monday, Steenkamp’s mother described her death as “horrendous.”
“Why my little girl? Why did this happen? Why did he do this?,” June Steenkamp told the Times of South Africa. “What for?”
“She had so much of herself to give and now all that is gone. Just like that, she is gone… In the blink of an eye and a single breath, the most beautiful person who ever lived is no longer here.”
“All we have is this horrendous death to deal with… to get to grips with. All we want are answers… answers as to why this had to happen, why our beautiful daughter had to die like this.”
More than 100 people are expected to attend an hour-long memorial service Tuesday for Steenkamp, a law graduate who had been going out with the 26-year-old Pistorius since late last year.
Well-wishers have already begun placing bouquets of flowers outside the family home.
On Saturday a celebrity television show aired haunting footage of Steenkamp speaking about the need to leave a positive mark on life, words laden with unintended poignancy after her death.
“Not just your journey in life, but the way that you go out and make your exit is so important, you have either made an impact in a positive way or a negative way,” Reeva Steenkamp said.
Her uncle Mike Steenkamp said the family had been overwhelmed with offers of help and sympathy.
“We have received a lot of condolences from all over South Africa and around the world as well. We have received a lot of support.”
Police says Steenkamp was shot four times in the early hours of Thursday by a pistol owned by Pistorius and died of her wounds at the scene.
His family has insisted that the evidence will refute “any possibility of a premeditated murder or indeed any murder at all”.
Defence lawyers are expected to argue at Tuesday’s hearing that there are “exceptional circumstances” for Pistorius to be granted bail, a request that will be opposed by the state.