Oscar Pistorius
Oscar Pistorius in danger of prison rape and HIV/AIDS if jailed, court told Getty

Oscar Pistorius should not be jailed because he might be raped and sexually assaulted by inmates, the court was told during his sentencing hearing on 14 October.

A custodial sentence for Pistorius raised the possibility of him contracting HIV/Aids from an inmate, claimed a social worker.

The shower facilities in South African prisons and Pistorius' disability would render him defenceless against "exposure" in the wash rooms, the court was told.

Defence witness Annette Vergeer called for the 27-year-old to not be jailed for shooting dead Reeva Steenkamp.

A relative of Steenkamp's was heard saying: "this is ridiculous" during Vergeer's testimony.

Vergeer admitted she was paid by Pistorius' to compile her report about what conditions awaited him in prison and why a non-custodial sentence would be appropriate.

She said: "The circumstances in the prison are negative and factors such as overpopulation, violence, sodomy, and gang-related activities are no longer denied.

"The exposure of the accused in the showers on his stumps will have a severe effect on him. There is no protection against his exposure.

"The accused would have to survive in very difficult conditions and the reality of HIV/Aids is no longer denied."

Prisoners in South African jail share cramped conditions, with 101 inmates in a cell meant for 38 in one penitentiary, she claimed.

"The accused will find it extremely difficult to walk on his stumps on cement and slippery floors," said Vergeer. "He requires a rail in the shower to provide him with adequate support. This was not visible at the prisons. There are no baths, there are no private showers."

Pistorius faces up to 15 years in jail for negligently killing Steenkamp and has been convicted of firearms charges.