The graphic details in new Oscar Pistorius doco that have angered Reeva Steenkamp’s family.


On Valentine’s Day 2013, Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead by her Paralympian boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius, in his home in Pretoria, South Africa.

In a criminal trial that was live-streamed across the world, the South African sprinter and amputee – nicknamed the ‘Blade Runner’ for his racing blades – claimed he mistook his girlfriend of four months for an intruder hiding in the bathroom. He fired four shots through the locked door, killing her instantly.

Pistorius, 31, is currently serving a 13-year jail sentence for murder, but only after the outrage prompted by his initial sentence of six-years for culpable homicide in 2014.

Now five years after her death, a documentary has been made about Steenkamp’s murder – or more precisely the rise and fall of Oscar Pistorius – and it has angered her family.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Steenkamp’s sister Simone Cowburn has questioned why the four-part series called Pistorius decided to show graphic images of the 29-year-old model’s corpse on the floor of a bloodstained bathroom.

“I don’t believe it is necessary to show blood stains on the walls. All this was told as evidence at Oscar’s trial,” she said.

“My question is how did these documentary people get their hands on police photographs of my sister’s body?”

Cowburn also said she was bewildered as to why the doco has been created at all.


“I don’t understand why his film has been made. She was killed five years ago and you would think that everything that needed to be said has been said now,” she said.

“If his family are involved and trying to get him a reduced sentence, I hope it fails. He needs to stay in prison for a long time for the way he killed my sister.

The documentary’s writer and producer Sean Richards told Daily Mail that his team “set out to tell the story as objectively as possible”.

But Cowburn said her parents – June and Barry – do not need to relive the death of their daughter.

“I spend a lot of time shielding my parents from what is on the internet about Reeva. We don’t need pictures of her blood stains to be seen at all after such a long time,” she said.

It’s not the first time the Steenkamp’s family has had to deal with a dramatisation of Reeva’s death.

An unofficial TV biopic based on public records titled Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer was released in November 2017. The film claimed to be told through June and Reeva Steenkamp’s point of view, a fact which the family flatly deny. In fact, Steenkamp’s family threatened legal action against Lifetime Movies, as the film was made without their consent.

At the time, Cowburn called the movie “a money making exercise and very wishy-washy”, according to Daily Mail.


The family’s lawyer Tania Koen told the publication that seeing the trailer, which depicts their daughter’s death, has “opened all the old wounds for Barry and June”.

June Steenkamp, who set up the Reeva Steenkamp Foundation to raise awareness about violence against women, spoke about her continuing grief on BBC Radio 5 in January this year.

“We wake up every morning at 3 o’clock, which is when she died. I think it was about twenty past three. And then you think of her in that toilet and what she must have gone through. Nobody deserves that.”

When asked if she and Reeva’s father talk about their grief when they wake up, she replied: “No, we just wake up. Then the thoughts start. It’s all in there, it’s all contained in your mind… I still today get very upset.”

Despite Pistorius’ murder charge, June said she gets criticised by people who believe Pistorius had been treated too harshly.

“We became victims of what had happened. There are still people today who blame us for what happened to Oscar. And it’s crazy if you think of it. We did nothing wrong, what did we do wrong?”

Do you think crime documentaries should be made without the victim’s family consent? Tell us in the comments.