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Oscar Pistorius to sell luxury South Africa home - a crime scene - to cover legal fees

Pretoria: Oscar Pistorius is selling the luxury South Africa home where he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, revealing he needs the funds to cover the mounting legal fees incurred as his murder trial enters a fourth week.

The 27-year-old owns the two-level property in Pretoria's Silver Woods Country Estate, and has previously revealed it is worth about five million South African Rand - about $500,000 - and it has a mortgage of about $200,000.

The Paralympic gold medalist has been funding his own defence in his trial for murdering Ms Steenkamp up until now.

"It has become necessary to sell Mr Pistorius' home ... in order for him to raise the necessary funds to cover his increasing legal costs," his lawyer Brian Webber said in a statement posted on the double-amputee's website on Thursday.

"This is due to the unexpected extension of the trial beyond the initial three-week period for which it was originally set down."


He said the statement was being issued to "pre-empt speculation in the public and the media, and to state the reasons for this decision".

"Due to the delay in finalising the trial, the decision to urgently dispose of his single biggest asset, has had to be made," Mr Webber said.

Pistorius has never been back to the home since the shooting in the early hours of Valentine's Day, 2013 and "cannot contemplate ever returning to live there again", the statement said.

Investigators released the crime scene some time ago, but Mr Webber said it has remained sealed.

Pistorius’ barrister Barry Roux reportedly earns about $5000 a day, and his legal team consists of at least four other lawyers.

He has also reportedly paid for ballistics experts and other specialist services in preparing his defence case.

Prosecutors, who allege Pistorius intentionally killed 29-year-old Ms Steenkamp, are expected to wrap up their case early next week.

Pistorius insists he shot the model through a toilet door after mistaking her for an intruder.

The trial resumes on Monday.

- with AFP