Prosecutor: Pistorius offered cash after killing

Pretoria (South Africa) :  Oscar Pistorius offered US$ 34,000 to the family of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after he killed her, but the family rejected the funds because they did not want “blood money,” a prosecutor said on Tuesday at the sentencing hearing for the double-amputee athlete.

Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel also referred to separate payments of US$ 550 that the Pistorius camp apparently made on a monthly basis to Steenkamp’s family, but said those would be paid back in full.

The revelations emerged while Nel was cross-examining a social worker who testified that Pistorius should be placed under house arrest, rather than sent to prison, after his conviction for culpable homicide, or negligent killing. Social worker Annette Vergeer, one of four witnesses called by the defense, said South African jails are violent and overcrowded and that the athlete would be under particular duress because of his disability and fragile mental state resulting from the night when he fired four times through a toilet door in his home, killing Steenkamp.

Pistorius testified he mistook her for an intruder about to attack him and denied prosecution assertions that he shot her during an argument.

Vergeer said, Prison “will not assist him but will break him as a person,” she said. “The exposure of the accused on his stumps to inmates will have a severe effect on him.” —AFP

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