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Pistorius family in extortion threat

AFPAFP 20/06/2016

Oscar Pistorius outside Pretoria High Court on June 15, 2016 © Provided by AFP Oscar Pistorius outside Pretoria High Court on June 15, 2016 The family of Oscar Pistorius Monday said they had been threatened with extortion relating to the case of the convicted former athlete who is facing prison for the murder of his girlfriend.

An unknown person threatened to have Pistorius gang raped in prison, unless the family paid for evidence that would undermine the prosecution case against him, said family spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess.

Specifically the person sent messages to a Pistorius family member seeking payment in exchange for evidence that the prosecutor had paid a witness who testified against the athlete at his sentencing hearing last week.

The text message was sent to a cousin of the double-amputee, Arnoldus Pistorius, on June 16, the day after the end of the former athlete's pre-sentencing hearing.

Burgess said the anonymous person began making threats when the cousin did not respond to his demands, including to have Pistorius raped when he goes back to prison.

"These included threats that he would arrange for Oscar to be beaten up and gang raped in prison," said Burgess in a statement.

Police confirmed that they were looking at the threats made to the family but no arrests had been made.

The former Paralympic champion was in 2014 sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of culpable homicide for shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, saying he mistook her for an intruder.

He was released from jail last October to live under house arrest at his uncle's mansion in Pretoria after serving one year of his five-year sentence.

His culpable homicide sentence has since been converted into murder, which carries a minimum of 15 years.

The High Court in the capital Pretoria is due to hand down his new sentence on July 6.

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