Pretoria - They had pet names for each other, lovingly calling each other “my angel, my nunu, boo and baba”.
While the State sought to paint the Blade Runner as a tantrum-throwing emotionally abusive jealous man, his lawyers on Tuesday shifted the court’s attention to a couple madly in love.
In his bail hearing affidavit, Oscar Pistorius had denied killing Reeva Steenkamp intentionally, saying “at the time of the tragic incident which led to Reeva’s death, we were in a loving relationship”.
On Tuesday, he sought to prove this, with his lawyer Barry Roux, SC, even playing a CCTV footage clip of the couple shopping at a filling station convenience store, with Pistorius giving his “angel” a kiss.
The footage showing Steenkamp picking up items from the fridge reduced her mother June to tears.
Roux also showed the court a picture of a radiant Steenkamp blowing a kiss to Pistorius. She was wearing a top that it seemed Pistorius had given her. “Do you like it?” asked Steenkamp in the WhatsApp message. Pistorius replied: “I love it.”
Roux also referred to messages in which Pistorius was concerned for Steenkamp’s safety.
Four days before she was killed, Pistorius sent her a message reading: “Where are you? Are you safe… ? Please send me a message to know you are safe.”
In another message, Steenkamp asked Pistorius if she could “wear my leopard dress Baba”, to a function. Pistorius’s response was “Ja, I love that. You look amazing in it.”
Many messages, Roux said, were sealed with lots of kisses.
He reminded cellphone expert Captain Francois Moller to mention a smiley emoticon at the end of one of the messages.
“As you can see, 90 percent of the messages are of a loving nature,” said Roux, trying to disprove the State’s case that the relationship of Pistorius and Steenkamp was fraught with disagreements.
Roux asked Moller to read out the “Morning baba, how’s your day going?” message Steenkamp had sent Pistorius the morning after she sent a long WhatsApp message in which she told Pistorius: “I’m scared of you sometimes.”
Pistorius had responded by saying “good morning angel, I hope you slept well”. This, Roux said, indicated that the couple quickly resolved their issues. The pair had a very loving relationship and the bad times only appeared from four messages out of more than 1 700 messages Moller had retrieved from their cellphones.
“So, there was a disagreement, but if you look at the messages it was resolved very quickly,” said Roux. He added that their messages were “full of kisses”.
Roux also referred to a message in which Pistorius encouraged Steenkamp to have coffee with a former boyfriend, Warren Lahoud.
This was two days before Steenkamp’s death.
She had written: “I know Warren wanted coffee today so we could catch up, but I can see him another day.”
Pistorius responded: “Maybe go and see him and come through when you’re done.”
Other messages were on how the couple missed each other, with Steenkamp writing: “Baby I love spending time with you and sleeping next to you.”
On February 11, Steenkamp sent a message asking if she could cook for Pistorius on Thursday February 14 last year. “I’d love that Nunu,” was Pistorius’s response.
On the afternoon before she was killed, Steenkamp sent a message to Pistorius, reading “Baba, I hope you don’t mind but I came back to the house to work a bit and to do some washing.”
About an hour later, she again sent a message to him, saying: “It’s a difficult thing to try and console you… because it’s a sh***y thing and you’re a nice guy… you are an amazing person… you are more than cared for…”
Pistorius responded about two hours later by saying: “Thank you so much my angel… Stay tonight if you like.”