To demonstrate how vulnerable he is without his artificial limbs, Oscar Pistorius had to shuffle through a Pretoria court on Wednesday without his prosthetic legs as part of his defense team’s plan to help him avoid up to 15-year-jail term for murder.
But state prosecutors say the 29-year-old Paralympian gold medalist has shown no remorse for the 2013 killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius, who sat with his head in his hands during the third day of sentencing hearings, says he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he fired four shots through a locked toilet door in his Pretoria home, killing her almost instantly.
The lower part of the athlete’s legs were amputated when he was a baby, and he is known as “Blade Runner” for the carbon-fibre prosthetics he wore when racing.
Pistorius lawyer Barry Roux asked his client to walk in the court on his stumps to show the difficulty he faced while dealing with the threat of an intruder.
His body shaking with emotion, Pistorius then removed his prosthetics and stood on his stumps for five minutes in front of the court television camera, wiping tears from his face with a tissue.
Reports said Pistorius was on his stumps when he fatally shot Steenkamp through a toilet cubicle door in his home 2013; he testified at his murder trial that he felt vulnerable and thought an intruder was in the house.
Prosecutors have said Pistorius intentionally killed Steenkamp after an argument.
Pistorius is currently living under house arrest after initially serving one year of a five-year prison sentence for manslaughter for shooting Steenkamp multiple times in 2013. That conviction was overturned last year by an appeals court, which convicted Pistorius of the more serious charge of murder.
The hearing is scheduled to run through Friday this week. South Africa has a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for murder, although a judge can reduce that in some circumstances.