Oscar Pistorius' therapist told a sentencing hearing yesterday that the star sprinter was a "broken man" who experienced genuine remorse after shooting dead his girlfriend. As Pistorius' lawyers fought to keep him out of jail, his therapist Lore Hartzenberg told a South African court that Pistorius was virtually inconsolable during initial counselling sessions after he killed Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013. The 27-year-old double amputee was last month found guilty of negligently killing the model. But he was cleared on a more serious charge of murder, a verdict that shocked the country and fuelled criticism of South Africa's legal system. "Some of the sessions were just him weeping and crying and me holding him," said Hartzenberg, the first witness called by Pistorius' lawyers to mitigate against a prison sentence. "I can confirm his remorse and pain to be genuine," said Hartzenberg "I have never found him to be anything other than a respectful, caring and well-mannered person." She described Pistorius as a "broken man". Meanwhile, a South African correctional services social worker, told Pretoria's High Court that the athlete should serve three years house arrest and do 16 hours community service a month sparking angry comments from prosecutors. He said house arrest was "as harsh" as any other sentence. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, described the recommendation as "shockingly inappropriate" and said the official, Joel Maringa, had not applied his mind to the seriousness of the crime "at all". Pistorius entered the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria amid tight security for the start of the sentencing hearing, expected to run for most of the week. He faces up to 15 years in one of South Africa's notoriously brutal prisons or could dodge a jail term altogether. The defence team is expected to argue that the country's prisons are not suited for his disability and that the 2012 London Paralympics silver medallist deserves leniency as a first-time offender. Hartzenberg did not testify during the trial. During her cross-examination, the court heard that Steenkamp's father had suffered a stroke after her death, and her mother had repeatedly collapsed on the floor in tears. Nel suggested Hartzenberg was biased in favour of Pistorius, pointing out that she cried during the trial. Lawyer David Dadic - who is not involved in the case - said the defence would "heavily expand on their trial argument regarding Oscar's remorsefulness". The state would focus on his history of negligence with firearms, he said.