Oscar Pistorius sentenced to six years for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius sentenced to six years for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp

Update 9.35am Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six years in prison for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius stood and faced Judge Thokozile Masipa as she announced the sentence in a Pretoria courtroom.

He was facing a possible 15-year jail term for shooting Steenkamp through a toilet cubicle door at his home in 2013, but Judge Masipa said substantial and compelling circumstances existed to give him a lesser sentence.

Pistorius was initially convicted of manslaughter in 2014 and served one year in prison. An appeals court then overturned that decision and convicted him of murder.

Steenkamp's parents, Barry and June, were in the courtroom, which was packed with relatives of both Pistorius and Steenkamp and other observers.

In reading out the sentence, Judge Masipa said Pistorius was a "fallen hero".

Judge Masipa agreed that Pistorius should not be judged as the man who “won gold medals” but as the “vulnerable” man without prostheses.

Pistorius the Paralympian and Pistorius without his legs were “two different persons” and “ignoring this fact would lead to an injustice”, said the judge.

The judge ordered a recess to give prosecutors and Pistorius's defence lawyers time to decide if either wanted to appeal against the sentence.

Update 9.25am Judge Masipa has said that Oscar Pistorius is “good candidate for rehabilitation”.

However, she added the rehabilitation programmes may not be sufficient now that Pistorius’ conviction has been upgraded to murder, as he completed them while serving his sentence for culpable homicide.

Update 9.15am The judge has found there are mitigating circumstances in the case, which will see Oscar Pistorius get a sentence of less than the standard 15-year minimum for murder.

Oscar Pistorius sentenced to six years for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp

Judge Masipa said that in her judgement, Pistorius was "genuinely remorseful" for Reeva's killing.

She said she disagreed with the State's contention that he showed no remorse.

The judge said he apologised in court, having “previously and unsuccessfully” trying to contact the Steenkamp family privately, more than once.

She interprets this as undermining any notion that he apologised as a “ploy”, and said he would only persist in his efforts to apologise to the family because “he was genuinely remorseful”.

Judge Masipa has said “public indignation” must be based on facts, she says wrong perceptions exist in this case and the court to must correct it “to prevent unjustified outrage from the public”.

Oscar Pistorius sentenced to six years for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp

Earlier Oscar Pistorius will be sentenced for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp today.

The athlete shot Steenkamp on Valentine's Day three years ago, however he argues that had mistaken her for an intruder.

He has already served a year behind bars for culpable homicide - but South Africa's Supreme Court upgraded his conviction.

Steenkamp’s father Barry spoke in court last month, and believes Pistorius should go back to jail.

“It’s been very difficult for me to forgive,” said Mr Steenkamp at the time.

“But, I feel the same that Oscar has to pay for what he did.”


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