Oscar Pistorius trial: Steenkamps ‘rejected blood money’ 

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Athlete Oscar Pistorius offered a large cash sum to the parents of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after he killed her – but it was rejected as “blood money”, a South African court has heard.Pistorius’s offer of $34,000 (£21,000) was revealed by prosecutor Gerrie Nel during his sentencing hearing.

Earlier, a defence witness told the court that Pistorius would be physically at risk if sent to prison.He has been found guilty of culpable homicide, but cleared of murder.The defence is trying to show that prison would be an inappropriate punishment.

Pistorius’ offer of a lump sum of 375,000 rand to the Steenkamp family emerged on the second day of his sentencing hearing, during the cross-examination of defence witness Annette Vergeer.

June Steenkamp outside court in Pretoria, 14 OctoberJune Steenkamp is said to have angrily rejected the offer of “blood money”

Mr Nel told Ms Vergeer that Pistorius raised the funds from selling his car.

The prosecutor added that Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, June, had rejected the offer. “She does not want blood money,” he said.

He also highlighted separate monthly payments of 6,000 rand (£340; $540) made by Pistorius to the Steenkamps – who were short of money after their daughter’s death. Mr Nel said these funds – mentioned in Ms Vergeer’s report – would be “paid back to the accused in full – every cent.”What constitutes “blood money?” That question surfaced in court when it was revealed that Oscar Pistorius has been making monthly payments to Reeva Steenkamp’s parents.

The couple’s lawyer confirmed that he had approached the Pistoriuses some 18 months ago, asking for support because Barry and June Steenkamp were broke. It seems their daughter had been supporting them prior to her death.

But earlier in court, Prosecutor Gerrie Nel scathingly described a separate lump-sum offer of 375,000 rand, made by the athlete as “blood money”. So what is the different between refusing a lump sum and accepting a monthly payment – in moral terms? Clearly issues of need, timing, emotion, and the ebb and flow of the trial process itself must come into play.

But in the meantime the Steenkamps have now announced that they will not be pursuing any civil case against the man who killed their daughter, and will repay “every cent” of the money Pistorius has already given them.

Sources

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