African athlete Oscar Pistorius is a "broken" man, a defence witness
has said at his sentencing hearing.
Professor Jonathan Scholtz told the hearing in Pretoria that Pistorius was a 'broken man', who needs to be hospitalised and not jailed.
The doctor also revealed that while the runner was locked up, he was held in ‘virtual isolation for his own protection’ and even saw a prisoner who had been raped hanging dead in his cell.
Dr Scholtz added that the runner's stumps became infected while inside and he had trouble getting medicine, while prison warders brought visitors to catch sight of the famous prisoner, the court heard, all hours of the day or night.
The doctor also revealed how a recent outing to a local shop ended up with Pistorius forced to flee after another customer protested about shopping with a murderer.
The doctor, who has interviewed and observed Pistorius at length before he was jailed and again last month, said he found the sprinter’s mental health had deteriorated dramatically.Dr Scholtz told the court that the killer had a fear of going out, anxiety about being ridiculed, suffered from paranoia, post traumatic stress disorder, depression, insomnia and suffered flashbacks and panic attacks if exposed to loud noises.
However, prosecutor Gerrie Nel questioned Dr Scholtz's assertion that Pistorius was not fit to testify, saying the athlete had managed to give a TV interview.
The hour-long interview with Britain's ITV is due to air this month, local media has reported.
Mr Nel also revealed to the court that illegal medicine was found in Pistorius’s cell during a routine search.
He added that a stash of anti-depressants and sleeping pills were seized by warders that had not been prescribed by prison doctors and Pistorius was not entitled to keep.
Mr Nel also said ‘it didn’t happen’ in response to Pistorius’s claim that he had seen a fell inmate hanging in a doorway following a sex attack.
The sprinter also told the doctor he had been assaulted in his cell, but Mr Nel said the incident had never been reported to prison authorities.
And Mr Nel told the court that Pistorius did not attempt to get in touch with the family of his victim following his release from prison last October and only attempted to make contact with them via his lawyers just weeks ago 'in preparation for this hearing'.
The court was also told Reeva's mother, June Steenkamp, had been 'ummoved' by Pistorius’ public apology, which came at the start of his evidence at his murder trial, and did not want further contact with her daughter’s murderer.Pistorius was convicted of murder at the end of last year for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
He faces a jail term of at least 15 years, but his sentence can be reduced due to time already spent in prison and mitigating factors. The hearing is expected to last all week with a sentence by Friday.
Pistorius, 29, killed Ms Steenkamp in February 2013 after firing four times through a locked toilet door.
The athlete has always maintained he believed he was shooting at an intruder.
Pistorius was initially sentenced to five years for manslaughter, but the conviction was upgraded to murder in December following an appeal by the prosecution.
South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the lower court did not correctly apply the rule of dolus eventualis - whether Pistorius knew that a death would be a likely result of his actions.
The panel of judges said that it was irrelevant who he thought was behind the door.
Original trial judge Thokozile Masipa will hear arguments from both prosecution and defence this week. The Paralympic athlete may testify.
Reeva Steenkamp's father, Barry, who has been absent throughout the case due to poor health, may also appear in court.
Experts say a custodial sentence seems almost unavoidable but factors such as his mental fragility, disability and good behaviour might lead to a reduced jail term.
He was released from prison last October after almost a year in jail and allowed to serve out the remainder of his initial sentence under house arrest on his uncle's property in Pretoria.