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Pistorius forced to sell house that was scene of fatal shooting

CrimeShootingsHomicideHomesTrials and ArbitrationJustice SystemReeva Steenkamp
Luxury home, gated community, bathroom with troubled history - Pistorius sells former digs
Bathroom that is the focus of a murder trial now in new hands as Oscar Pistorius sells home

Luxury house for sale in secure Pretoria gated community. Features cathedral ceilings, stone floors throughout, nice neighbors.

And a bathroom with a troubled history.

South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius, on trial in the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has sold his home in an upscale gated community for $450,000, a sharp cut in the $620,000 asking price. 

Pistorius shot Steenkamp in a lavatory along a corridor from the master bedroom, firing four expanding bullets through a timber door into the locked toilet cubicle where she was hiding.

Pictures of the bathroom with Steenkamp's blood spattered on its pale tiles were shown repeatedly during his trial, causing Pistorius to vomit several times.

Pistorius’ lawyers had argued during the trial that the gated complex, with 24-hour guards, was not safe enough to allay the athlete’s deep-seated fears of crime.

The prosecution says Pistorius killed Steenkamp after a fight. He claims he mistook her for an intruder and shot her while he was in a state of abject terror.

The paralympic champion, who ran in the Olympic Summer Games in 2012 using prosthetic legs, was forced to sell the property to cover his legal fees, according to his legal spokesman. The trial dragged on longer than expected, with thousands of pages of transcript and legal costs mounting by the day.

Defense counsel and the prosecution next week will outline their final legal arguments to Judge Thokozile Masipa. The court will then take a break while she reaches her verdict with the help of two assistants.

The trial had South Africans transfixed, and the athlete’s fall from global stardom to murder suspect seemed to elicit a visceral global fascination. Viewers around the world heard the athlete sobbing like a wounded animal when the prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, demanded he accept responsibility for killing Steenkamp.

Pistorius, wearing a hoodie that covered his face, was ushered out of the house by police on the morning of Feb. 14 last year, hours after he killed Steenkamp. He left behind the Valentine’s Day present she had bought him, later retrieved for him by family – a frame with photos of the couple.

He never went back to the house, according to South African media.

Acoustic tests at the property, re-enacting the sounds of shouting and screaming, were carried out by actors.

The buyer, Louwtjie Louwrens, a mining consultant and former gold mine owner, told South Africa’s Times Live he was looking for a secure property.

“It is in a safe area and everyone I dealt with was very professional,” he said. “It stood empty for more than a year and there is some water damage, so we would first have to repair it,” Louwrens added.

Louwrens said he doesn’t plan to move into the house for two years, after his wife retires.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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CrimeShootingsHomicideHomesTrials and ArbitrationJustice SystemReeva Steenkamp
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