Prosecutors in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial produced evidence on Monday that reveals Reeva Steenkamp was “scared” of her Olympian boyfriend and that he verbally “attacked” her on several occasions. The admissions come from text messages between Steenkamp and Pistorius that were exchanged weeks prior to the night the 27-year-old South African sprinter shot and killed the model.
“I can’t be attacked by outsiders for dating you AND be attacked by you, the one person I deserve protection from,” Steenkamp texted Pistorius after the celebrity couple left a sports awards event on Feb. 7, 2013, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
On another occasion, in January 2013, 29-year-old Steenkamp said Pistorius’ temper had frightened her. “I’m scared of u sometimes and how u snap at me and of how you will react to me,” she messaged Pistorius after a friend’s engagement party.
The messages come from the couple’s WhatsApp conversations, which police officers downloaded after Pistorius shot her on Valentine’s Day 2013 at his home in Pretoria. The messages were retrieved from the pair’s iPhones, BlackBerries and MacBook.
Authorities went through thousands of mobile phone messages sent between the runner and the model. Officials described 90 percent of the text conversations between Pistorius and Steenkamp as normal and loving, but said that the remainder showed a volatile side to the relationship, Reuters reports.
It took some time before law enforcement officials could retrieve Pistorius’ text history because the South African initially said he forgot the password to his phone. According to the New York Daily News, investigators were forced to get help from Apple experts in the U.S. before the trial started on March 3.
“I just want to love and be loved,” Steenkamp wrote in one of their exchanges. “Be happy and make someone SO happy. Maybe we can’t do that for each other.”
In another instance, Steenkamp got upset at an event during which Pistorius accused her of flirting with someone else. The model said Pistorius threw a “tantrum.”
“I was not flirting with anyone today,” Steenkamp texted. “I feel sick that u suggested that and that u made a scene at the table and made us leave early.”
Pistorius apologized for his behavior and said he wanted to “sort this out.”
“I don’t want to have anything less than amazing for you and I,” he replied. “I’m sorry for the things I say without thinking and for taking offense to some of your actions. The fact that I’m tired and sick isn’t an excuse.”
Pistorius continued: “I was upset that you just left me after we got food to go talk to guy. I was standing tight [sic] behind you watching you touch his arm and ignore me.”
Pistorius and Steenkamp were dating for a few months before she was killed. The athlete, nicknamed the “Blade Runner,” has admitted to shooting at Steenkamp four times through a closed bathroom door, but has pleaded not guilty to murder charges. The runner has maintained throughout the trial that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder in his home.
Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted. His defense is scheduled to begin later this week.