Pistorius sells home for less than hoped to pay for murder trial

JOHANNESBURG - South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has sold his Pretoria home where he killed his girlfriend last year for less than he hoped, to help pay legal fees for his ongoing murder trial, the real estate agent said on Friday.

The athlete had hoped to raise at least five million rand (S$586,000) when he put the small villa in a gated community on the market in March, said estate agent Ansie Louw, who is the wife of Pistorius's coach.

The buyer ended up paying 4.5 million rand (US$420,000, 310,000 euros) - significantly less than the price paid for similar properties in the same neighbourhood.

"This is a fact, but I am not going to comment any further," Louw told AFP.

Pistorius shot and killed his 29-year-old girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the house on February 14, 2013, claiming he mistook her for an intruder. His trial on charges of premeditated murder began in March this year and is expected to wrap up next week with closing arguments.

Pistorius has not lived in the villa since the killing.

The buyer of the house, Louwtjie Louwrens, told The Times newspaper that he bought the property because "it is in a safe area".

"It stood empty for more than a year and there is some water damage, so we would first have to repair it," he said, adding that he was thinking of moving into it in two years' time, when his wife is retired.