Oscar Pistorius gets away with just 6 years in jail

RSTV Bureau
Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@ Reuters

Photo Courtesy: Reuters/Twitter

Three years after Reeva Steenkamp was murdered, her Paralympian boyfriend Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six years in jail for murdering her.

Most legal experts expected a term between 11 and 14 years.

The South African Paralympian shot dead his girlfriend at her home in February 2013.

On Wednesday, High Court judge Thokozile Masipa listed several mitigating factors for sentencing him to less than half the minimum 15-year term for murder, which included the athlete’s claim that he believed he was shooting an intruder.

“The sentence that I impose on the accused… is six years imprisonment,” the judge said.

Pistorius, 29, hugged his family before he was taken out of the court in Pretoria to begin his term.

The double-amputee Olympic and Paralympic sprinter was freed from prison last October after serving one year of a five-year term for culpable homicide — the equivalent of manslaughter.

But an appeals court upgraded his conviction to murder in December.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013, saying he mistook her for a burglar when he fired four times through the door of his bedroom toilet.

The sentencing may not be the end of the long legal battle, as Pistorius or the state could launch a final round of appeals against the length of the prison term.

“We are very disappointed… from five years that we fought against, and now it is six, what is that?” Jacqui Mofokeng, spokeswoman of the ruling ANC party’s women league, told AFP after the sentencing.

“It’s an insult to the women of South Africa.”

The televised proceeding was attended by Pistorius’ family and relatives of Steenkamp, a former law graduate and model.

At his sentencing hearing last month Pistorius, sobbing heavily, hobbled on his stumps across the courtroom to demonstrate his physical vulnerability.

Pistorius, who pleaded not guilty at his trial in 2014, has always denied killing Steenkamp in a rage, saying he was trying to protect her.

The Supreme Court of Appeal in December ruled he was guilty of murder, irrespective of who he believed was behind the door, when he opened fire with a high-calibre pistol he kept under his bed.

(With inputs from agencies)