SOUTH AFRICA

Pistorius to sell Pretoria home to pay mounting legal fees

Costs mount as his murder trail continues

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 March, 2014, 1:16am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 March, 2014, 1:16am
AFP

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Oscar Pistorius plans to sell the upmarket US$460,000 Pretoria house where he shot dead his girlfriend last year to cover the legal fees for his murder trial.

"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," his lawyer Brian Webber said yesterday.

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

Estate agent Ansie Louw, who is handling the sale, said the house would be sold in a closed bid, starting at five million rand (HK$3.54 million).

The Paralympic athlete has been paying his own legal fees since he shot dead Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year. The costs - reportedly as high as US$9,000 a day - are said to include at least three full-time lawyers in court, ballistics and forensics experts as well as an American crime scene reconstruction company.

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

The authorities turned the runner's home in the gated community back over to him over a year ago and he had planned to keep it sealed until the end of the murder trial.

Pistorius valued the house at five million rand during his bail application in February last year.

At the time he also owned two other houses with a combined value of 1.5 million rand in Pretoria and a vacant plot worth 1.6 million rand in Cape Town. All his properties together were worth 8.3 million rand, he told the court.

But since the shooting he has lost many of the endorsement deals that earned him some US$510,000 a year.