Oscar Pistorius sentence: Prison gang leader promises to 'take him out' as Steenkamp's cousin says athlete must 'pay for what he's done'

Remarks come on fourth day of trial as prison commissioner admits jail may be unsuitable for disabled athlete

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The Independent Online

Oscar Pistorius will face serious harm if sent to prison, his defence lawyer argued today as a South African prison gang leader promised he would be ‘taken out’.

‘The General’, the leader of notorious prison gang 26s, allegedly promised Pistorius’ wealth would not save him in remarks reported by the local press and quoted by the athlete’s defence lawyer Barry Roux in court today.

Against this backdrop, Reeva Steenkamp's cousin took the stand today in order to say the Olympian must "pay for what he's done", testifying that she believed the athlete's courtroom apology was not sincere. 

Kim Martin was testifying on the fourth day of Pistorius' sentencing hearing. Giving an emotional testimony on the impact of Ms Steenkamp's death on her family, Ms Martin says they are "not seeking revenge" but Pistorius needs "sufficient punishment." 

A judge is listening to testimony from witnesses before deciding what punishment the double-amputee Olympian must serve after convicting him of culpable homicide for shooting Ms Steenkamp in his home last year.

Pistorius' defence lawyers have argued for a sentence of three years of house arrest. Prosecutors say the former star athlete should be sent to jail.

The remarks come as the prison commissioner called to defend the South African penal system in Pistorius’ trial admitted that the Olympian should not be placed in a ‘regular’ institution.

 

Moleko Modise, the Acting National Commissioner for Correctional Services, said Pistorius would need to be housed in the hospital wing.

Mr Modise said the South African prison system did “compare favourably with other prison in the world” but conceded there were cases where inmates failed to receive medical care or facilities.

Yesterday, Pistorius’ defence lawyer Gerrie Nel cross examined social worker Annette Vergeer who claimed the double-amputee should be placed under house arrest rather than sent to prison, because he would be “a lot more vulnerable than the normal man” in jail.

Additional reporting from PA