Sunday 4 December 2016

'A fallen hero': Oscar Pistorius sentenced to six years for the murder of model Reeva Steenkamp

* Orginal trial judge Thokozile Masipa sentenced the athlete to six years in prison
* Pistorius will not appeal the sentence - lawyers
* He will serve between half and two thirds of the sentence before he can apply for parole
* Pistorius shot Ms Steenkamp dead in his luxurious home early on Valentine's Day in 2013
* The state had argued for him to receive no less than the minimum 15-year sentence for murder

Published 06/07/2016 | 09:33

Oscar Pistorius arrives at the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa. Photo: AP Photo/Herman Verwey
Oscar Pistorius arrives at the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa. Photo: AP Photo/Herman Verwey
Victim: Reeva Steenkamp
June Steenkamp in court for the sentencng of Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa. Reuters/Masi Losi/Pool
Oscar Pistorius arrives at the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa. (AP Photo/Herman Verwey)
Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius speaks with his lawyer Barry Roux ahead of his sentence hearing. Reuters/Masi Losi/Pool
Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius arrives for sentencing. Reuters/Marco Longari/Pool
Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius in court during the hearing in his murder trail at the High Court in Pretoria. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
June Steenkamp. Reuters/Marco Longari/Pool
Reeva Steenkamp's parents June and Barry arrive in court. Reuters/Marco Longari/Pool
Oscar Pistorius reacts during the third day of his resentencing hearing for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa June 15, 2016
Oscar Pistorius with Reeva Steenkamp in 2012
Reeva Steenkamp
Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius. Ms Steenkamp was shot dead through a lavatory door by Pistorius
Reeva Steenkamp
June Steenkamp, the mother of the late Reeva Steenkamp who was shot dead by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius in 2013 (AP)
Reeva: A Mother's Story by June Steenkamp
Reeva Steenkamp
Reeva Steenkamp
Parents of the late Reeva Steenkamp Barry and June, front, surrounded by media.
Oscar Pistorius
Oscar Pistorius walks across the courtroom without his prosthetic legs during the third day of his resentencing hearing. Photo: Reuters
Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius walks across the courtroom without his prosthetic legs during the third day of his resentencing hearing
Oscar Pistorius removed his prosthetic legs during his sentencing hearing in the High Court in Pretoria (AP)

South African Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six years in prison for the murder of model Reeva Steenkamp.

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Pistorius (29) was found guilty of murdering Steenkamp by an appeals court last December.

The six-time Paralympic gold medallist, dressed in a dark suit, gave no reaction in court today when the sentence was delivered. He was taken to prison almost immediately.

Pistorius shot Ms Steenkamp four times through a locked toilet door in his luxurious home early on Valentine's Day in 2013.

June Steenkamp. Reuters/Marco Longari/Pool
June Steenkamp. Reuters/Marco Longari/Pool

He will not appeal the sentence delivered today, his defense team has said.

Pistorius will serve "between half and two thirds of the sentence" before he can apply for parole, Andrew Fawcett, Pistorius' instructing attorney said.

The state had said Pistorius had shown no remorse and called for him to receive no less than the minimum 15-year sentence for murder. However, as the original trial judge Thokozile Masipa delivered the sentence today, she said she would sentence him to less than that.

"Public opinion may be loud and persistent, but it can play no role in the decision of this court," the High Court judge said.

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

She said that although the Steenkamp family had suffered great loss, Pistorius' life and career was also in ruins.

Victim: Reeva Steenkamp
Victim: Reeva Steenkamp

"The life of the accused shall also never be the same. He is a fallen hero and can never be at peace," she said.

Pistorius arrived in court for sentencing at around 8.20am today. Steenkamp's parents, Barry and June, sat on a bench on the other side of the courtroom.

He had initially received a five-year sentence for a manslaughter conviction in 2014.

He was freed from prison last October after almost a year behind bars to serve out the remainder of his term under house arrest at his uncle's house in a wealthy suburb of the capital.

The athlete had the lower part of his legs amputated when he was a baby and his lawyers had argued that his disability and mental stress should be considered as mitigating circumstances to reduce his sentence.

Some rights groups have said Pistorius, a wealthy white man and international celebrity, has received preferential treatment compared to others without his status or wealth.

He argued that he fired four shots into the door of a toilet cubicle at his luxury Pretoria home in the mistaken belief that an intruder was hiding behind it.

Outside the court, a group of people held up placards backing the athlete. One read: "Give Oscar his freedom back please".

Read More: 'Reeva would want me to live my life' - Oscar Pistorius in first interview since trial

Reuters

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