PRETORIA (AFP) – Oscar Pistorius should be jailed for at least 10 years for killing his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the prosecution said Friday as the star sprinter’s sensational trial approached its climax.
Slapping down defence claims that the “broke and broken” Paralympic and Olympic athlete had already suffered enough, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said “the minimum that society will be happy with is 10 years imprisonment”.
After hearing final arguments from both the defence and prosecution, Judge Thokozile Masipa scheduled sentencing for next Tuesday.
Defence lawyer Barry Roux said Pistorius was not a “cold-blooded killer” and should serve a community-based sentence without any prison time.
Nel described the suggestion as “shockingly disproportionate”.
“Go home, stay in a luxurious house where he’s staying at the moment… and he will not leave his house except if he wants to train, work, go to a doctor – that’s what we do every day,” said Nel.
Nel said the “softly spoken words” of Steenkamp’s cousin Kim Martin, who pleaded with the court to “make Mr Pistorius pay” for what he had done, “trounces” any other testimony.
Pistorius, 27, was cleared of murdering Steenkamp by firing four shots through a locked toilet door in his upmarket Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day last year, but found guilty of culpable homicide, for which he could be sentenced to anything from a fine to 15 years in jail.
Earlier, Pistorius wept in the dock as his lawyer said he had already suffered enough for killing Steenkamp, describing the double-amputee sprinter’s devastating fall from disabled icon and sporting stardom to a loathed criminal.
“He’s lost everything, he was an icon in the eyes of South Africa,” said Roux in a last-ditch bid to keep Pistorious out of jail.
Roux said Pistorius had also lost the woman he loved, “most of his friends” and “all of his immovable properties”.
“He was denigrated to the extent that all that was left was a rage killer, a cold-blooded killer, and everything that was horrible,” said Roux, describing Pistorius as a “victim” of unprecedented malicious media attention.