Oscar Pistorius is a “broken” man who should be hospitalised with depression, a South African court heard today, as the Paralympic athlete faced a return to jail for murdering his girlfriend three years ago.
The double-amputee killed Reeva Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013, saying he mistook her for an intruder when he fired four times through the door of his bedroom toilet.
Wearing a dark suit, white shirt and black tie, the 29-year-old “Blade Runner” attended the first day of his sentencing hearing at the High Court in Pretoria along with members of his family.
“He displayed signs and reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder and depressive disorder,” psychologist Jonathan Scholtz for the defence said, after recent interviews with Pistorius.
“Currently he is not able to testify. His condition is severe.”
Scholtz added that Pistorius “has almost given up, his spirit seems broken” and he should be in hospital as his mental condition had worsened over the last two years.
He said the disgraced athlete was vulnerable emotionally, psychologically and physically.
In March, Pistorius’s lawyers failed in their legal bid to reverse a Supreme Court of Appeal judgement that upgraded his original conviction from culpable homicide — the equivalent of manslaughter — to murder.
The original trial judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to pass a new sentence after hearing arguments from both prosecution and defence.
Pistorius faces a minimum 15-year jail term for murder, but his sentence could be reduced due to time already spent in prison and mitigating factors, including his disability.
Steenkamp’s parents were both in court on Monday, and her father Barry may take the witness stand to ask the court to impose a lengthy punishment.