Pistorius to sell home where he killed girlfriend to pay legal expenses

Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:12am EDT
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By Tosin Sulaiman

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Oscar Pistorius will sell the luxury Pretoria home in which he shot and killed his girlfriend to pay his legal expenses due to an unexpected delay in the trial, his lawyer said on Thursday.

The Olympic and Paralympic athlete is on trial for the murder of 29-year old model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013. He has pleaded not guilty, saying he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.

Pistorius has been forced to sell his home in the upmarket Silver Woods estate because the legal process is likely to take longer than the three weeks initially indicated by the state, Brian Webber, the lawyer handling the sale, said in a statement.

"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," Webber said.

"Mr. Pistorius has been funding his own defense from the outset. Due to the delay in finalizing the trial, the decision to urgently dispose of his single biggest asset, has had to be made."

Webber added that the property was handed back to the track star by the authorities more than a year ago. Although a decision was taken to keep it sealed until after the trial, Pistorius had been forced to reconsider.

The track star, nicknamed the "Blade Runner", has not returned to the house since Steenkamp's killing.

"Mr. Pistorius cannot contemplate ever returning to live there again," Webber said.   Continued...

Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock during court proceedings at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria March 19, 2014. REUTERS/Leon Sadiki/Pool