Oscar Pistorius
Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius: Anything less than jail 'shocking'

SOCIETY wants a "heavy punishment" handed to Oscar Pistorius for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the chief prosecutor in his case has claimed.

Gerrie Nel, prosecuting, told the Pretoria Court on the third day of his sentencing hearing that anything less than a jail sentence for the Paralympian athlete would be "shockingly inappropriate".

Mr Nel made his comments as he continued his lengthy cross examination of probation officer Annette Vergeer, who was called to testify by the defence.

Ms Vergeer recommended Pistorius be placed under house arrest as opposed to serving a prison sentence, saying he could be particularly vulnerable because of his disability and fragile mental state.

"Our courts and society value human life," Mr Nel told Ms Vergeer, before asking: "Don't you think society wants a heavy punishment?"

According to Sky News, he continued: "You're recommending house arrest... but the accused could be allowed to pursue his athletics, train, find a job and go to work and return to his house."

He suggested there could be a public backlash against a more lenient sentence, adding: "That this accused be sentenced to three years correctional supervision, with 16 hours a month correctional duties is shockingly inappropriate. It cannot even be considered."

Reeva Steenkamp
Reeva Steenkamp

Earlier, Ms Steenkamp's parents addressed revelations from court on Tuesday that Pistorius had been paying them a monthly sum in a statement released through their lawyer.

Barry and June Steenkamp said they will pay back the estimated £6,000 Pistorius gave them in monthly instalments for nearly two years to help with their living expenses.

They said the athlete's lawyers requested the payments be kept confidential, meaning they were "quite surprised" when it was disclosed in court "without any prior warning".

But Pistorius' chief defence lawyer Barry Roux said Pistorius gave the parents the money "unconditionally" and didn't want it back.

Reeva Steenkamp's cousin says model's death was 'the end of the world' 
 
REEVA Steenkamp's cousin gave an emotional account of the moment her family learned of the model's death, telling a South African court: "It was, for me, the end of the world".

Kim Martin broke down into tears just minutes after taking the stand as the first state witness when she recalled hearing that Oscar Pistorius had been arrested on the radio for shooting his girlfriend.

She gave an emotional account of the moment her family learned of the model's death, telling a South African court: "It was, for me, the end of the world".

The athlete was found guilty of culpable homicide by Judge Thokozile Masipa last month and is being sentenced this week. Pistorius, 27, faces up to 15 years in prison for shooting Ms Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013, although he could also receive a suspended jail sentence and a fine.

Reeva Steenkamp
Reeva Steenkamp

In a testimony punctuated with sobs, Ms Martin told the High Court in Pretoria she was in the middle of rush hour traffic when the news broke and remembered hoping the Paralympian athlete had been cheating on Ms Steenkamp.

The court was briefly adjourned to allow Ms Martin to compose herself before she continued giving testimony.

"We arrived at my mother's house and I could see the minute we arrived my mother was hysterical and then I knew," Ms Martin said, before bursting into tears.

Describing the events after the shooting, Ms Martin said Reeva's mother June Steenkamp was hysterical and heavily medicated.

Oscar Pistorius leaves the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Oscar Pistorius leaves the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. "She just walked around shrugging her shoulders all the time. My Uncle [Barry Steenkamp] sat in the corner just crying. Crying, crying.

"It's ruined our whole family. It's ruined Uncle Barry and Auntie June. Reeva was everything to them," she said. "They absolutely adored her; they were so proud of her, what she had accomplished.

"She looked after them so well, not just finacially."

She recounted meeting Pistorius for the first time in Cape Town in January 2013, where the family shared a meal together. When he left to go take a call, Ms Martin asked her cousin if she was happy. She said Ms Steenkamp replied: "Yes, but we need to talk.

"That has bothered me for ever since then," she told the courtroom. "That I never said, what did you mean?"

Many of those present in the court were reduced to tears by her testimony as she described the impact Reeva's death had on the whole family.

Ms Martin said she has undergone trauma counselling and has taken medication for depression. Her children also received counselling after the incident and her daughter was even sent to a "youth institution" to help her cope.

She said Mr and Mrs Steenkamp had given their blessing and told her she must be Reeva's "voice" on the stand.

Ms Martin also revealed Reeva assisted her parents financially with money she made from her modelling career. On Tuesday, it emerged that Pistorius had been paying the Steenkamp's a monthly sum to assist with their living costs.



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