Oscar Pistorius: Murder trial extended to mid-May after all parties agree to an extension

Pistorius forced to sell mansion to cover spiralling costs of murder trial

The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius will now run until mid-May after all parties agreed to an extension.

The court in Guateng province confirmed the trial, which is entering its fourth week tomorrow, will be in recess for the week beginning 7 April, and then resume from 14 April until 16 May.

Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel is expected to wrap up his case this coming week, calling five new witnesses to the stand.

On Thursday, Pistorius announced plans to sell his Pretoria mansion where girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot on Valentine's Day last year to cover the spiralling legal costs of the trial.

His 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.

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.

 

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

He also owned two other houses worth 1.5 million 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 rand (£459,342) 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.

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.