Oscar Pistorius: Athlete forced to sell mansion where he shot Reeva Steenkamp dead to cover spiralling costs of murder trial

Athlete blames increasing legal costs as a result of State murder trial extension

Oscar Pistorius is selling his Pretoria home to cover the spiralling legal costs of his ongoing murder trial, his lawyer has confirmed.

The Paralympian blames the "unexpected" extension of his murder trial beyond the initial three week period for which it was originally scheduled to take place.

Pistorius's lawyer Brian Webber said in a statement: "Due to the delay in finalising the trial, the decision to urgently dispose of his single biggest asset has had to be made."

"With the trial now already into its third week and as the prosecution is still leading evidence, it is clear that the legal process will last significantly longer than originally indicated by the state," he added.

Mr Webber said the athlete has not returned to his upscale mansion since Ms Steenkamp was shot and "cannot contemplate ever returning to live there again".

Estate agent Ansie Louw, who is handling the sale of the Silver Woods property, told The Independent the mansion will be sold in a closed bid.

No asking price has been set but the agency expects to sell the mansion for "no less than 5 million rand" (£278,000). The family is determined to sell the house "as soon as possible" and hope to reach a deal on the price by mid-April.

Bidding kicked off earlier today and it has already attracted interest from several buyers, according to the agency. The house has been emptied and is in perfect condition for the new owner to move-in.

 

Pistorius valued the house at 5 million rand in his bail application.

He also owned two other houses worth 1.5 milliom rand (£83,000) in Pretoria and a vacant plot valued at 1.6 million rand (£88,550) in Cape Town. All his properties together were worth 8.3 million (£459,342) rand at the time.

Pistorius was released on bail of one million rand (£73,000) in February last year. The athlete has been paying his own legal fees since he was arrested and charged with murder.

His legal team led by defence counsel Barry Roux reportedly includes three full-time lawyers in court, ballistics and forensics experts, as well as a US crime scene reconstruction company.

Read more: How Pistorius went from hero to gun-loving hothead
Pistorius 'covered in blood' after shooting
Pistorius vomits after graphic evidence shown in court
Pistorius 'broke all the rules' the night he killed Reeva
Trial becomes bizarre safari following wounded lion

The Paralympian's finances have taken a hit after losing lucrative sponsorship deals with Nike, reportedly worth $2 million, sunglasses maker Oakley, and French designer Thierry Mugler.

At the start of his murder trial, Pistorius pleaded not guilty of murdering Ms Steenkamp, claiming he shot her in a case of mistaken identity thinking she was an intruder.

Prosecutors argue he intentionally shot and killed his girlfriend following a domestic dispute. If convicted of murder he will almost certainly receive a life sentence, with a minimum term of 25 years in prison.

The case continues.

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