Oscar Pistorius has spoken out against the level of crime in South Africa, saying this was the reason he owned a firearm.
In his first televised interview since he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, Pistorius was asked by ITV’s Mark Williams-Thomas why he had a firearm.
“When I grew up, my father had been hijacked, he had been hijacked later in my teens where they had been beaten up with a brick in the car,” Pistorius replied.
“My brother has been hijacked. My cousin was at home, just down the road here, while she was at home in the middle of the day, the robbers looked at her and smiled while they ransacked the house.
“I don’t know anybody in South Africa that hasn’t experienced some form of crime, whether it be an attempted carjacking, whether it be an act of violence and the level of crime isn’t only high in South Africa – it is the level of violent crime,” he said.
“You get this fear. It is just the reality that we live in.”
The interview was carried in South Africa on M-Net’s Carte Blanche on Friday night.
When asked about claims by some that an apparently hot-headed person like him should not carry a gun, Pistorius responded: “I don’t even have an answer to that.”
He then said, “There could have been many circumstances where I could have used a firearm, where I got assaulted – I had my firearm with me. I didn’t go shoot or even pull it out.”
Pistorius said he had “about 9 or 11 firearms” including two cheap second-hand shotguns, and had ordered a semi-automatic assault rifle at the time. His 9mm however was the only gun he kept at home, he said.
During the interview he was also questioned about claims that he got jealous before the shooting over an alleged message that Steenkamp’s ex-boyfriend and rugby player Francois Hougaard had sent her.
“I don’t know if she did receive a message from him. They dated for a short time. It didn’t work between them and they split ways. And there had been a lot of time between the night that I took Reeva’s life and the time that she split with him,” he said.
“There had been nothing… between them and her and him anymore. If he did send her a message, they would have brought it up in evidence. They never did.”
He also denied some claims that he had beaten Steenkamp with a cricket bat, or that he had taken steroids.
“It [the alleged cricket bat assault] never happened. The pathologist never brings it up [in the trial],” Pistorius said.
“There is never any evidence led about it. On the evidence given on the cricket bat, there is no evidence to substantiate that. Nothing.
“It is a lie, like you can’t believe. That I took steroids, that I beat her head in with a cricket bat. None of it was true, but what was said at that point was already so damaging.”
Pretoria High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to hand down sentence for murder for Pistorius on July 6.
The Supreme Court of Appeal previously overturned her verdict of culpable homicide and replaced it with one of murder.