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Oscar Pistorius: Sentence hearing to continue

Oscar Pistorius returns to court later for the third day of a pre-sentencing hearing over whether he should face prison for killing his girlfriend.

On Tuesday, the prosecution said Reeva Steenkamp’s family had rejected an offer of “blood money” from Pistorius.

But a lawyer for Steenkamp’s parents said they had received monthly payments from the athlete for 18 months.

The athlete was found guilty of the culpable homicide of Steenkamp last month – but was cleared of murder.

The South African’s defence team is trying to show that prison would be an inappropriate punishment.

Pistorius’ offer of a lump sum of 375,000 rand (£21,000; $34,000) to the Steenkamp family was revealed by prosecutor Gerrie Nel, during the cross-examination of defence witness Annette Vergeer.

He said Pistorius has raised the cash by selling his car, but that Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, June, had rejected the offer. “She does not want blood money,” he said.

He highlighted separate monthly payments of 6,000 rand (£340; $540), which Pistorius had agreed to pay after being asked by the Steenkamps’ lawyer because they were short of money after their daughter’s death.

Nel said these funds – mentioned in Vergeer’s report – would be “paid back to the accused in full – every cent”.

Nel’s questioning led to the Pistorius family accusing him of giving a distorted picture of the financial agreement with the Steenkamps. They said they would provide a full statement on Wednesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, Vergeer – a probation officer paid for her defence work – said that Pistorius would be “a lot more vulnerable than the normal man” if he was sent to prison.

The Paralympic sprinter denied murdering Steenkamp after a row on Valentine’s Day last year, saying he shot her by mistake.

He faces up to 15 years in jail after being found guilty of culpable homicide, although the judge may suspend the sentence or impose a fine.

On Monday, a defence witness suggested that Pistorius should not be sent to prison but be sentenced to house arrest or community service.

Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, was hit three times by bullets shot through a toilet door by Pistorius at his home in the capital, Pretoria.

The sentencing hearing is expected to last several days.

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