Oscar Pistorius, the Olympic sprinter who stands accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp a year ago today, issued a statement on the anniversary describing her fatal shooting as an accident.
“No words can adequately capture my feelings about the devastating accident that has caused such heartache for everyone who truly loved – and continues to love Reeva,” reads the statement posted to Pistorius’s official website.
“The pain and sadness – especially for Reeva’s parents, family and friends consumes me with sorrow. The loss of Reeva and the complete trauma of that day, I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
The message is signed, simply, “Oscar.”
The South African double amputee and Paralympic medalist also linked to the message from Twitter – his first post since Feb. 13, 2013, the day before the shooting.
Pistorius, now 27, admits shooting Steenkamp, 29, but claims he mistook his girlfriend of three months for an intruder in his heavily secured Pretoria home.
After remaining free on bail over the past year, Pistorius is due to stand trial for premeditated murder beginning March 3. The prosecution has listed 107 witnesses and allotted two weeks for the proceedings, which are expected to draw worldwide attention.
Earlier in the week, the Steenkamp family issued their own statement, saying her parents, Barry and June Steenkamp, would attend the trial in Pretoria. The family is also in negotiations with Pistorius for a civil settlement, Steenkamp family lawyer Dup de Bruyn told PEOPLE, though he declined to give details.
“All we are looking for,” the family’s statement read in part, “is closure and to know that our daughter did not suffer on that tragic Valentine’s Day.”
The family also said they plan to start a foundation in Reeva’s name to honor the model’s support for victims of abuse and domestic violence.