Pistorius arrives for sentencing

Pistorius arrives for sentencing

Oscar Pistorius has arrived at a South African courthouse to hear his sentence for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Thokozile Masipa is to announce at the High Court in Pretoria what sentence the disabled Olympic runner must serve after she convicted him of culpable homicide, or negligent killing, but acquitted him of murder for shooting Ms Steenkamp.

Judge Masipa has a range of options for Pistorius’s punishment. She could issue a suspended sentence and a fine, meaning the athlete would not go to jail. She could order him to go under house arrest or she could send him to prison for up to 15 years.

Pistorius’s lawyers have argued for a three-year period of correctional supervision, where the runner would be under house arrest. Prosecutors asked the judge to send him to prison for at least 10 years.

Pistorius was escorted through crowds of onlookers and into the courthouse by police officers wearing blue berets.

The parents of Ms Steenkamp, the woman he shot multiple times through a toilet cubicle door in his home on February 14 last year were also in court to hear the sentence.

The courtroom was packed, reflecting heightened media and public interest ahead of the sentencing. Police officers stood guard in the aisles.

Before proceedings started, Dr Lore Hartzenberg, a psychologist, held Pistorius’s hand and spoke softly to him.

He had given evidence for the defence that Pistorius was a “broken man” after killing his girlfriend and had suffered emotionally and financially.

A Pistorius supporter laid three white roses near the athlete.

“I just wanted to bestow a little bit of inner happiness on Oscar,” said the supporter, who added that she thought he had lost a lot of self-respect.

Outside the courthouse, a man in orange clothing carried chains and a large sign that read: “Are certain offenders more equal than other offenders before the law?”

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