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Pistorius now one of 7,000 inmates at Pretoria jail

21 October 2014, 18:05

Pretoria - Oscar Pistorius's fall from grace as an international star athlete was complete Tuesday as he was driven through the gates of a drab Pretoria prison to begin serving a five year jail sentence.

Pistorius will be just one of nearly 7,000 inmates behind the towering walls of the Kgosi Mampuru prison, where he was taken just hours after being sentenced for killing his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

Formerly known as Pretoria Central Prison, the facility was notorious for its brutality towards political prisoners held under the racist apartheid regime which collapsed 20 years ago.

The conditions in the prison will, however, present a major lifestyle shift for the once high-flying Paralympian gold medallist who is accustomed to a life of luxury, beautiful women and fast cars.

"He is already accommodated at Kgosi Mampuru," correctional services spokesman Manelisi Wolela told AFP.

Media thronged the entrance as a police van transporting the athlete drove in under police guard, bringing to an end a seven-month trial which had gripped the world.

Immediately after sentencing, Pistorius was led downstairs from the dock to the cells, where he had his fingerprints taken for presentation to prison officials before being allocated a prison number and a cell.

He underwent a medical assessment shortly after his arrival and would be held in a special hospital section of the prison, said correctional services officer, Ofentse Morwane.

This would be followed by a further assessment in 21 days to determine his "correctional sentence plan."

The 27 year-old double-amputee's physical disability formed a crucial part of his legal team's pre-sentencing arguments, who suggested he would face particular suffering in prison.

Judge Thokozile Masipa, however, found that the prison services would be able to cope adequately with Pistorius, as they do with other disabled prisoners.

The department of correctional services, which manages the country's jails, has stringent regulations for inmates' visiting hours and possessions allowed inside, including food.

Sport clothes, including tracksuits, vests, socks and sport shoes are only allowed following approval by authorities.

Computers are prohibited, and only one photo album can be kept.

He may receive letters and cards from family, to be kept for a maximum of three months.

Pistorius admitted that he shot Steenkamp, 29, four times through a locked bathroom door at his upmarket Pretoria home, believing she was an intruder.

The prosecution had called for 10 years in jail for the athlete, while the defence pleaded for house arrest and community service.

But Masipa said a community service order "would not be appropriate".

Pistorius was also sentenced to three years imprisonment, suspended for five years, for accidentally firing a pistol under a table at a restaurant in Johannesburg in January 2013.

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