Oscar Pistorius girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp laid to rest

Reeva Steenkamp

Tearful family and friends said goodbye to slain model Reeva Steenkamp in a private funeral ceremony in South Africa today as her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius appeared in court charged with her murder.

Steenkamp's coffin, draped in a cloth with a white flower arrangement on top, was carried into the chapel at the crematorium in her hometown of Port Elizabeth at 10 am (0800 GMT) by six people.

Sombre-faced mourners exchanged hugs and wiped away tears after the intimate memorial service in the southeastern coastal city where Steenkamp grew up.

"There's a space missing inside all of the people that she knew that can't be filled again," her brother Adam, who gave the eulogy, told reporters after the ceremony. "We'll miss her."

The late law graduate and cover girl was shot dead at her boyfriend's luxury home on Valentine's Day, in a case that has rocked the nation where Pistorius, a double amputee Olympian and Paralympian, is a national hero.

While Steenkamp was being laid to rest, a sobbing Pistorius appeared in a Pretoria court seeking to be released on bail, sparking a fresh media frenzy.

But in Port Elizabeth, the focus was firmly on Steenkamp.

A funeral programme simply entitled "Reeva", with the dates of her birth and death on it, showed a black-and-white portrait of the 29-year-old.

The words "God's Gift, A Child" were written on the back.

When her family addressed the media, they made no mention of Pistorius, whom Steenkamp had been dating since late last year.

Steenkamp's brother said the mood at the ceremony was sad, but also an opportunity to remember the good times they had shared.

"At certain points we were smiling whilst remembering Reeva because we only have good memories of her and I think that's what we were all thinking," he said.

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