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Starting bid for Oscar Pistorious house set

21 March 2014, 14:07

Pretoria – The estate agent handling the sale of Oscar Pistorius’s Pretoria home said on Thursday, the house will be sold in a closed bid, starting at R5m (N75.75 million).

Pistorius plans to sell the upmarket R5 031 000 Pretoria house where he shot dead his girlfriend last year, to cover the legal fees for his murder trial, his lawyer said.

Brian Webber, lawyer for the 27-year-old murder accused, said Pistorius was selling his house to cover increasing legal costs

"This is due to the unexpected extension of the trial beyond the initial three-week period for which it was originally set down," he said in a statement.

The Paralympic athlete has been paying his own legal fees since he shot dead Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year, according to the statement.

"Due to the delay in finalising the trial, the decision to urgently dispose of his single biggest asset has had to be made," Webber said.

Pistorius is being defended – at a cost of almost R100 000 (N1.5 million) a day - by Barry Roux and Kenneth Oldwadge, while his court team includes at least three other lawyers, including his family attorney Webber, as well as forensic and ballistic specialists.

Since the shooting Pistorius has been living at his uncle's house in Pretoria.

Prosecutors have charged the double-amputee sprinter with intentionally killing 29-year-old Steenkamp, and are expected to wrap up their case early next week.

Pistorius insists he fired four shots through a locked toilet door after mistaking the model for an intruder.

The authorities turned the runner's home back over to him over a year ago and he had planned to keep it sealed until the trial finished.

"He has been forced to revisit this decision," according to Webber, who said the statement was meant to pre-empt media speculation about the sale.

House value

Pistorius valued the house at R5m during his bail application in February last year.

During his bail hearing, Pistorius outlined his assets. He said he owned the house where he lived and where his girlfriend died, as well as two other houses with a combined value of R1.5m in Pretoria and an empty plot of land worth R1.6m in Langebaan, near Cape Town.

All his properties together were worth R8.3m, the sporting hero told the court.

Pistorius earned world-wide fame as the "Blade Runner" for running on two carbon fibre blades, after both his legs were amputated below the knee when he was born without fibulae.

He became the first double amputee to compete with able-bodied athletes at the London 2012 Olympics.

But he has fallen on hard times since the shooting, and lost many of the endorsement deals that earned him about R5.5m a year.

His trial opened on 3 March, and witnesses have testified to hearing a woman's terrified screams in the dead of night, followed by gunshots.

A police ballistics expert said on Thursday the first shot from Pistorius's 9mm pistol shattered Steenkamp's hip bone.

She then fell over and was struck in the head by another bullet.

The trial resumes on Monday.



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