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6 July 2016

Oscar Pistorius sentenced to six years for murder

The sentence brings the three-and-a-half-year legal battle to an end.

By James Chater

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

Pistorius’s initial sentence of five years for manslaughter was overturned on appeal last December.

The verdict was delivered by Judge Masipa at Pretoria’s High Court. Before delivering the verdict, Judge Masipa said:

“The sentence that I impose will have to reflect the seriousness of the offence. It will, insofar as it is possible, be fair to the accused, as well as the deceased’s family, and society at large.”

Pistorius was taken to jail immediately following the sentencing. Although prosecution and defence can appeal, both have since stated they intend not to.

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The verdict given by Judge Masipa is lower than some had expected. Murder in South Africa carries a mandatory minimum term of 15 years.

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On 14 February 2013, Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at their home in Pretoria, South Africa.

In the initial trial, Pistorius admitted to shooting Steenkamp but claimed he thought she was an intruder. Prosecutors presented Pistorius as a jealous man, who killed his girlfriend in a fit of jealousy.

In June 2015, Pistorius was recommended for release after serving just ten months of his first sentence in prison. And in October of the same year he left prison to serve the remainder of his term under house arrest.

Half of the six-year term must be served until he is eligible for parole.