‘Media blackout’ at Reeva’s memorial

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reeva's hearse Reuters The body of Reeva Steenkamp arrives at the Victoria Park Crematorium ahead of her memorial service in Port Elizabeth. Photo: Reuters

Port Elizabeth - Doves Funeral Services personnel carried the coffin of model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp into the chapel at the Victoria Park Crematorium in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday morning. 

The black Mercedes-Benz hearse carrying the body stopped at a side entrance to the chapel and the coffin, which was draped in a white cloth with an arrangement of white flowers on it, was carried in by hand. 

A large media contingent had assembled outside the crematorium, which is in the Eastern Cape, from early on Tuesday morning.

The family of Steenkamp, who was shot dead on Thursday at her paralympian boyfriend Oscar Pistorius' home, has asked the media to respect its privacy.

 The police warned local and international news teams to leave the premises and they retreated to outside the boundary wall.

 There was an air of restrained suspense at the tranquil, weather-beaten building, which is surrounded by large trees and terraced lawns.

 Part of the crematorium, a memorial wall and several gravestones were visible from the entrance, where police had erected a cordon.

 Some journalists said they had arrived at 6am to ensure they missed nothing ahead of the model's memorial service, but by 9.30am only police and Doves Funeral Service had arrived.

 Soon after, the first mourners began to trickle in. Those who arrived on foot were swamped by the media who asked them for comment. 

The weather was cool and slightly cloudy with a light wind blowing through the trees.

 The Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday that Steenkamp's family had been besieged by the media.

 Unlike murder accused Pistorius' family, the family are unaccustomed to being in the media spotlight.

 Steenkamp's cousin, Sharon Steenkamp, said there would be a “media blackout” at the memorial service.

 She said a press conference would, however, be held afterwards. - Sapa

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