Oscar Pistorius jailed 5 years for killing girlfriend

Oscar Pistorius

After months of trial, South African athlete, Oscar Pistorius, has been sentenced to five years in jail for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

The sentence was for culpable homicide which Pistorius was found guilty of.

The defence called for a house arrest and community service, while the state prosecutor asked the court to impose a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Judge Thokozile Masipa, Tuesday, said any sentence would need to demonstrate a balance between the crime, the criminal and the effect on the society.

She acknowledged that while Pistorius had shown remorse, a very light sentence may send the wrong message to the society, and encourage people aggrieved in the future to take the law into their hands.

“Yes the accused is vulnerable but he also has excellent coping skills. He excelled as a top athlete against big odds even going on to compete against able-bodied people,” the judge said.

Pistorius was also found guilty of negligently handling a firearm that went off in a restaurant in a separate incident.
The judge imposed a three years of fully suspended sentence for that offence.

Steenkamp was shot dead by Pistorius at his Pretoria home on the eve of the 2013 Valentine’s Day. The athlete maintains the shooting was in error as he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.

The deceased was a 29-year-old law school graduate who turned to modelling before her death.

The state accused Pistorius of lying and pressed for his conviction for murder.

In her earlier ruling, Judge Masipa said there was no evidence supporting premeditated murder, but said Pistorius acted “negligently” when he fired shots through a toilet door in the “belief that there was an intruder”.

Culpable homicide means there was no intention to kill a person, but the actions were negligent.

The paralympian was escorted past a crowd of reporters into the court in South Africa by armed police.


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