Oscar Pistorius ‘broken man’ after Steenkamp killing

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South African athlete Oscar Pistorius was a “broken man” after killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, his psychologist has told a court hearing.

Lore Hartzenberg said therapy sessions with Pistorius were often interrupted by his weeping and retching.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel accused her of avoiding questions about an alleged new love in Pistorius’s life.

Pistorius is in court for sentencing. He was found guilty of the culpable homicide of Ms Steenkamp last month.

However, he was cleared of murder – a decision criticised by the victim’s family.

Pistorius faces up to 15 years in jail, although Judge Thokozile Masipa may suspend the sentence or impose a fine.

She said the athlete had acted “negligently” when he shot his girlfriend through a toilet door, but had genuinely thought her to be an intruder.

His psychologist was the first defence witness to speak at the sentencing hearing, which could last several days.

The Paralympic sprinter had strenuously denied murdering Ms Steenkamp after a row on Valentine’s Day last year, saying he shot her by mistake.

Ms Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, was hit three times by bullets shot through a toilet door by Pistorius at his home in the capital, Pretoria.

Lore Hartzenberg told the courtroom that Pistorius was “very emotional” during grief therapy sessions, which were often disrupted by his weeping and retching.

She said the athlete felt “vilified and humiliated” by the media and social media networks, making him feel “utterly worthless”.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said it was “very strange” that Ms Hartzenberg was “avoiding” answering questions about Mr Pistorius having a new relationship.

Ms Hartzenberg said Mr Pistorius had never mentioned a new girlfriend in the therapy sessions. She said she had only heard about the relationship from reports in the press.

Judge Masipa is to hear legal arguments and testimony from a number of witnesses before passing sentence.

source: bbc

 

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