Paralympian "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius, accused of the premeditated murder of of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has put his Pretoria, South Africa mansion up for sale to help pay for his mounting legal fees. The house would nominally sell for up to $700 thousand, though its sordid history will likely drive the price way down.
Pistorius' lawyer Brian Webber commented, “It has become necessary to sell Mr. Pistorius' home in the Silver Woods Country Estate in Pretoria in order for him to raise the necessary funds to cover his 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.”
Early in the morning on Valentine's Day of last year, Pistorius shot and killed South African model Reeva Steenkamp, his girlfriend of three months, in one of the bathrooms of the house for sale. Pistorius admits that he'd shot Steenkamp, but insists that he'd thought she was an intruder. Prosecutors think otherwise, and seek to prove that the murder was premeditated.
Pistorius has repeatedly broken down in the courtroom, and at one point needed a bucket for vomiting:
Pistorius' trial began on March 3, and was set to conclude in three weeks, though it will likely be ongoing, as prosecutors gather more evidence. Pistorius was earning roughly $500 thousand annually while running, though he hasn't competed in two years, and sponsors Nike and Oakley dropped him.
Proceeds from the sale of the site of the murder, which overlooks a golf course, will be combined with the other assets of the accused. Pistorius also owns two other homes in Pretoria, worth roughly $300 thousand.
Pistorius hasn't returned to the site of the shooting since the day it occurred, and the bathroom where the crime took place has since been gutted. Ampie Louw, the real estate agent handling the sale, commented, “If you look at the house, a valuation has been done, and given that it has four bedrooms and four en-suite bathrooms, it is an upmarket house that will cost a lot to build from scratch."
If convicted, Pistorius faces 25 years to life.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.