Pistorius prays for Reeva: memorial or publicity stunt?

Some wonder why details of the Blade Runner's private service were leaked to the media

(Image credit: Getty Images)

OSCAR PISTORIUS has held a memorial service for his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot dead at his home on Valentine's Day. But questions are being asked as to how and why news of the "private" ceremony ended up being leaked to the media.

The Olympic and Paralympic sprinter held the ceremony at his uncle's house near Pretoria, where he is living after being granted bail as he awaits trial for the premeditated murder of the model.

He was reportedly joined by around 20 friends and family who said prayers for the dead woman. Details of the service emerged after they were "leaked" to a local radio station.

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That prompted the public relations agency representing Pistorius to issue a press release. "Oscar specifically requested the memorial service as he continues to grieve and remains in deep mourning for the loss of his partner, Reeva," it read. "Since it is such a sensitive issue, Oscar has asked for a private service with people who share his loss, including his family members who knew and loved Reeva as one of their own."

Security guards were posted outside the house where Pistorius, known as the Blade Runner because of his prosthetic legs, is now staying to keep journalists away, reported The Guardian. And it quoted a friend of Steenkamp who was clearly sceptical about the sprinter's motives. Shasi Naidoo told the paper: "If you wanted to keep a memorial service private, you would not put out a press release. I think this is a sad attempt to alter public perception."

The Sun noted: "Pistorius was accused on social network sites of staging a bizarre publicity stunt."

American website Sports Grid described it as a "gutless, toothless" attempt to score "sympathy points" and wondered what the dead woman's family would make of her killer's actions.

Steenkamp's official memorial was held last week in her home town of Port Elizabeth, while Pistorius was in court in Pretoria attending his four-day bail hearing.

Meanwhile, US tabloid magazine National Inquirer, known for its outlandish reporting, has claimed that Steenkamp was pregnant when she was killed. However, the reports have not been verified in South Africa and the results of her post mortem have not been made public, says the Daily Mail.

In yet another twist, the magistrate in the case, Desmond Nair, has confirmed that he is related to a woman who is suspected of killing her two children and committing suicide last weekend. The news comes after lead investigator Hilton Botha was removed from the case when it was revealed he was accused of attempted murder, and Pistorius's brother, Carl, was charged with unlawful killing over a fatal road accident.

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