Oscar Pistorius 'threatened by prison gang leaders'

Pistorius 'threatened by prison gangs'
© AFP
Oscar Pistorius's lawyer suggests that the Paralympic champion has been threatened by prison gangs in South Africa.

The lawyer of Oscar Pistorius has suggested in court that the Paralympic champion has been threatened by gang leaders serving time in South African prisons.

The 27-year-old is awaiting the outcome of a sentencing hearing, which got underway on Monday at the High Court in Pretoria.

The double amputee was found guilty of culpable homicide (manslaughter) after shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a toilet door at his home in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

Today, state witness Zac Modise, who is acting National Commissioner of Correctional Services, took to the stand to insist that prison facilities do cater for disabled people following earlier claims stating otherwise.

In court, Pistorius's lawyer Barry Roux referred to local reports claiming that leader of the '26s' prison gang, who is known as 'General' and has stabbed a number of inmates before, has said: "Anyone who thinks they can come here and live like a king, will have a hit on their head."

Mr Modise told the court that he was unaware of any prison threats towards the six-time Paralympic champion when asked by Pistorius's lawyer Barry Roux.

The defence argues that Pistorius, who could face a maximum jail term of 15 years, should be given a sentence of house arrest for three years.

Pistorius denied murder by claiming that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he fired four gunshots.

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius appears in Pretoria Magistrates Court for an indictment hearing on August 19, 2013
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