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Oscar Pistorius not healing – psychologist

Negative media coverage of paralympian Oscar Pistorius's trial destroyed his attempts to heal from the trauma of Reeva Steenkamp's death, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.

“His opportunity for healing was destroyed by the malevolent media reports and public comments,” his psychologist Lore Hartzenberg testified for the defence during sentencing proceedings.

On September 12 Pistorius was found guilty of the culpable homicide of Steenkamp but not guilty of her murder.

Judge Thokozile Masipa found him guilty of discharging firearm in public, when he shot from his friend Darren Fresco’s Glock pistol under a table at Tasha’s restaurant in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, in January 2013.

Pistorius had claimed he thought there was a burglar in his toilet when he fired four shots through the locked door in the early hours of February 14 last year, killing Steenkamp. The State had argued he killed her during an argument.

Reading from a prepared report, the pages of which seemed to tremble in her hands at times, a silver-haired and bespectacled Hartzenberg said Pistorius had still not reached acceptance and healing in his grieving process.

“His concern for Ms Steenkamp’s parents was an unrelenting theme during therapy sessions.”

She said Pistorius had been unable to apologise to the Steenkamps in person, and when he did so in public he was attacked.

“He felt he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t [apologise],” Hartzenberg said.

At this Steenkamp’s mother June Steenkamp and a friend sitting next to her in the first row of the public gallery exchanged a look.

“We are left with a broken man who has lost everything,” Hartzenberg said.

Pistorius was also found not guilty on two firearms-related charges – illegal possession of ammunition, and shooting through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein on September 30, 2012.


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