Pretoria: Double amputee Oscar Pistorius would be highly vulnerable in South Africa’s brutal jails, his disability elevating the risk of poor hygiene and even gang rape, a defence witness claimed yesterday.
Parole officer Annette Vergeer warned that prison would “break” the Paralympian star athlete, as his legal team mounted a fierce last-ditch battle to keep him from going to jail for manslaughter over the killing of his girlfriend last year.
South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius at his sentencing hearing at Pretoria High Court on Monday
“Without legs he will be vulnerable and a lot more vulnerable than the normal man,” said Vergeer, who was paid for her work for the defence.
“I’ve recently done a case for rape within the prison, gang rape, how can we say that he won’t be exposed to that,” she said, adding that washing his stumps may also be a problem.
Pistorius was found guilty last month of culpable homicide over the killing of Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year, but acquitted of murder. His sentencing hearing began in Pretoria on Monday and is expected to run through this week.