Tags: pistorius | bladerunner | murder | trail

Parents to Return Cash Pistorius Paid After Killing Their Daughter

Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014 07:55 AM

The prosecutor in Oscar Pistorius's trial for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp said her parents rejected his offer to pay them 375,000 rand ($34,000) he got for selling a car because they didn't want "blood money."

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel made the announcement Tuesday during Pistorius's sentencing hearing for his manslaughter conviction of Steenkamp at the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa's capital. Nel said the Steenkamps planned to repay the 6,000 rand a month Pistorius paid them since March last year, a month after the athlete killed Reeva on Valentine's Day.

Steenkamp's parents were left in "financial difficulties" after Reeva's death, and Pistorius's lawyers offered them monthly payments to help meet rent and living expenses, their attorneys said today in a statement. They will repay the money and decided not to proceed with a civil claim against the athlete for killing their daughter, they said.

Nel discussed the payments while cross-examining parole officer Annette Vergeer, the second witness called by defense lawyer Barry Roux to argue that Pistorius should be sentenced to three years' house arrest with community service instead of a prison term.

Judge Thokozile Masipa, 66, will hand down the sentence after defense attorney Barry Roux and Nel finish calling witnesses. His punishment could be as many as 15 years in prison and as little as a fine.

Culpable Homicide

Masipa cleared Pistorius of murder charges before convicting him of culpable homicide for killing Steenkamp when he fired four hollow-point bullets through a toilet door in his house. Pistorius said he thought Steenkamp was an intruder.

Vergeer said South Africa's prison system couldn't provide the facilities Pistorius, a double amputee, would need.

Nel challenged Vergeer on how she verified her facts about prison conditions, calling her "irresponsible" for using her visit to a single prison to generalize about all detention facilities in the country.

He criticized her for saying that there were no baths in prisons and that Pistorius wouldn't be able to keep his prosthetic legs. The Pretoria facility's medical clinic has single rooms with baths, Nel said, and he would be able to keep his prostheses.

Disabled Inmates

"How can you put in a report that it's a fact," Nel said. "You haven't verified it."

South Africa's correctional-services department disputed Vergeer's assertion, saying its prisons "can cater for disabled inmates," the South African Press Association quoted spokesman Mthungzi Mhaga as saying yesterday.

Joel Maringa, a social worker at the prisons department, told the court Oct. 13 that he recommended a sentence of correctional supervision, which may include house arrest and community service, for three years. Pistorius's community tasks may include 16 hours a month of work such as cleaning.

"That is shockingly inappropriate," Nel responded.

Pistorius's psychologist, Lore Hartzenberg, said two days ago that Pistorius needed ongoing psychological therapy and that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, was guilt- ridden and was devastated by "constant negative attacks against him."

Known as the Blade Runner because of his J-shaped prosthetic running blades, Pistorius was the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics. His trial drew a worldwide audience and derailed the running career of the winner of six Paralympic gold medals and cost Pistorius sponsorship deals with Nike Inc. and Luxottica Group SpA's Oakley.

After his conviction, Masipa extended his bail of 1 million rand ($90,000). Pistorius will be free to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as long as the judge doesn't hand down a multiple year jail term, South Africa's Olympic Committee said last month.

--With assistance from Christopher Spillane in Johannesburg.

To contact the reporters on this story: Paul Burkhardt in Pretoria at pburkhardt@bloomberg.net; Janice Kew in Johannesburg at jkew4@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net Karl Maier, Gordon Bell

© Copyright 2017 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

 
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The prosecutor in Oscar Pistorius's trial for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp said her parents rejected his offer to pay them 375,000 rand ($34,000) he got for selling a car because they didn't want blood money. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel made the announcement Tuesday...
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Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014 07:55 AM
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