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Published On: Thu, Oct 16th, 2014

Pistorius a broken man, psychologist says

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Pretoria OscarPistorius is a broken man who lost everything and it is unlikely he will recover from the shooting of his girlfriend ReevaSteenkamp, the High Court in Pretoria hearing.

“We are left with a broken man who has lost everything,” his psychologist Lore Hartzenburg said.

“On an emotional level his self perception and self worth have been damaged. He is unlikely to recover from the shooting incident…”

She said he lost his career, his loving relationship with Steenkamp and some of his friends.

Hartzenburg said Pistorius felt isolated after the shooting at a time when he needed the support of friends the most.

Pistorius was humiliated in some instances and it had a profound effect on his identity, she testified.

“Mr Pistorius experienced himself as utterly worthless…”

Post traumatic stress disorder

The Paralympics athlete was convicted of culpable homicide on 12 September for the Valentine’s Day 2013, shooting of Steenkamp.

As Hartzenburg spoke early this week, Pistorius sat in the dock looking down.

Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June sat looking at the psychologist as she spoke.

Hartzenburg told the court that Pistorius would not be able to escape the shooting after he was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

“The flashbacks and the re-experiencing of the shooting will be mental images that he will carry with him,” she said.

“They will be part of his life until such time that healing has taken place.”

Pistorius had a platform to make a difference for disabled people and that was also taken away.

Hartzenburg, who first met Pistorius on 23 February 2013 and had a first session with him two days later, said he never lost his temper even when provoked by others or under cross examination from the State during his trial.

Well-mannered and espectful

She said she found him to be well mannered and respectful even if he was irritated and frustrated at times.

“I can confirm his remorse…The healing process and closure is compromised by inaccurate facts,” she said.

Prosecutor GerrieNel asked Hartzenburg if the Steenkamp family were broken.

She replied, “I have no doubt in my mind that the Steenkamp family must be suffering immense pain.”

Nel responded, “I will lead evidence to indicate that Mr Steenkamp suffered a stroke.”

Hartzenburg said she would accept that.

Nel said that June Steenkamp would “collapse on the floor crying” and said it was expected from a mother who lost her daughter.

Culpable homicide

Last month Judge ThokozileMasipa found Pistorius not guilty of murdering Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse, but convicted him of culpable homicide.

 

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