A South African court has more than doubled the sentence handed to former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The 31-year-old was initially convicted of culpable homicide, but that was later upgraded to murder and he received a six year jail term last year.
However, the former athlete’s case has been brought back to the South African Supreme Court of Appeal, where that sentence has been upgraded to 13 years and five months.
Reading out the ruling, the judge said: “The sentence imposed… in respect of murder is set aside and substituted with the following: the respondent is sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 13 years and five months.”
He killed Reeva on Valentine’s Day in 2013 after shooting four shots through a bathroom door. During his initial trial, Pistorius tried to claim that he thought there was an intruder in the house and that’s what sparked his response.
In a TV interview, the Paralympic gold medalist said: “‘All of a sudden I hear a noise, at the toilet. I presumed it was the toilet door opening and before I knew it, I’d fired four shots.”
There was outrage across South Africa in 2014 when he was sentenced to five years for culpable homicide, which is essentially the same as manslaughter, and only served 10 months before he was released on house arrest.
But even though State prosecutors managed to get it upgraded to murder, only one extra year was added to the sentence. They brought the case to the Supreme Court of Appeal because they argued Pistorius hadn’t shown remorse for his crime.
This photo was taken just a few days before the night Oscar killed Reeva. Credit: PA
Andrea Johnson, of the National Prosecution Authority, told the court: “One of the essential ingredients of a balanced sentence is that it must reflect the seriousness of the offence. Genuine remorse is missing — namely a reason from the respondent for firing the four fatal shots.
“One cannot say his regret absolves him from the crime.”
But Pistorius’s lawyer, Barry Roux[Judge hit back at that allegation, saying of the former sentence: “[Judge Thokozile Masipa] balanced what he did with the circumstances. It was a comprehensive judgement. Leave to appeal should not be granted.”
The 31-year-old wasn’t in court for the ruling, which now meets the minimum 15 year sentence prescribed for murder in South Africa, with time already served.
Featured Image Credit: PA