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Intimate photos show Oscar Pistorius, Reeva Steenkamp before her death

Pistorius: One year later

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Story highlights

  • Photos show Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp together not long before her death
  • One shows Steenkamp hanging over his shoulders, as he tenderly holds her fingers
  • Another shows her nestling into his shoulder as he holds her in his arms
  • Pistorius goes on trial for Steenkamp's slaying next month; he says he shot her by mistake

The photos of Oscar Pistorius and girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp appear to show a young couple in love.

The series of images, given exclusively to CNN by a source close to Pistorius, come as the Olympic runner faces a bleak anniversary: one year since he shot his girlfriend dead at his home on Valentine's Day.

Pistorius will go on trial accused of Steenkamp's murder early next month. He denies the charge, saying he mistook her for a home invader.

The intimate pictures -- some of the final images of the 29-year-old model, taken in the weeks and months before her death -- show the couple looking relaxed and happy.

In one, Steenkamp wraps her arms around Pistorius, hanging over his shoulders as he tenderly holds on to her fingers. They grin happily at the camera.

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The couple are at the beach, with blue waters glistening behind them, and appear relaxed, casually dressed and in sunglasses.

Another blurry picture was taken in a kitchen. The fridge magnets are as much in focus as Steenkamp's smiling face as she sits on her boyfriend's lap. She looks dressed up for a night out in a sleeveless black dress with gold trim that sets off her sleek blond hair. Again, they are holding on to each other tightly.

The third image is more intimate and passionate, as Pistorius holds Steenkamp protectively in his arms. His eyes are closed as she seems to nestle into him.

The photo is not just a holiday picture, but an aching reminder of a relationship and a life cruelly ended on Valentine's Day a year ago.

Pistorius looks back a year after killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

'Devastating accident' or murder?

Pistorius, who won world fame for his achievements as a double-amputee runner, fatally shot his girlfriend of three months in the early hours of February 14, when he fired through a bathroom door in his home.

Her death at the hands of an athlete regarded as South Africa's golden boy shocked the world.

Pistorius does not deny shooting Steenkamp, a law school graduate with a burgeoning TV and fashion career, but says it was a "devastating accident."

Police say it was murder and will try to prove in court that the couple had an argument before the shots were fired, legal experts say.

The trial, which starts on March 3 before a high court judge, is expected to attract international interest.

While the photos prove nothing with regard to Pistorius' guilt or innocence, they give an insight into the couple's shared experiences and apparent intimacy before her death.

In a statement released on his website on the anniversary of the shooting, Pistorius said: "The loss of Reeva and the complete trauma of that day, I will carry with me for the rest of my life."

In a recent statement, Barry and June Steenkamp, Reeva's parents, said they would like to thank people for their condolences.

"We understand and empathize with friends who have lost a child through violence or abuse," they said.

READ: South Africa's Oscar Pistorius to face 2 gun charges at murder trial

READ: Oscar Pistorius looks back a year after killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

READ: Exclusive: Oscar Pistorius heartbroken, uncle says