MX23RW : Friday, September 21 07:04:34

Probation officer: 'Prison would break Oscar Pistorius'

Probation officer Annette Vergeer believes that prison would "break" Oscar Pistorius should he be sentenced to jail for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Probation officer Annette Vergeer has told the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa that prison would "break" Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius.

The 27-year-old's defence team have called for the court to issue the double amputee with a sentence of home arrest for three years after he was found guilty of culpable homicide.

Pistorius was convicted of killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot dead through a toilet door at his home in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

The athlete could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, but his defence team believe that a correctional supervision term would be appropriate.

Ms Vergeer told the High Court: "It would break him as a person and take away his future, and place a broken person back into society. His rehabilitation has a far greater chance of success under custodial supervision than in prison."

Pistorius was cleared of murder after claiming that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he fired the shots.

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Oscar Pistorius appearing at the Magistrate Court in Pretoria on February 22, 2013
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