Pistorius sells house to pay legal bills

By Maria Tadeo

Oscar Pistorius is selling the house where he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Photo / AP
Oscar Pistorius is selling the house where he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Photo / AP

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."

Read more about the Pistorius trial in today's Herald:
'Blade-runner' trial: 5 key claims

"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 Estate 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" (NZ$535,000). 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 was released on bail of one million rand (NZ$141,000) in February last year. The athlete has been paying his own legal fees since he was arrested on charges of 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.

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