Pistorius not guilty of murdering girlfriend, says Judge

Oscar Pistorius trial Image credit: www.telegraph.co.uk

The six-time Paralympian gold medallist, Oscar Pictorius, has been cleared of murder charges in the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

South African Judge Thokozile Masipa found Pistorius not guilty of murder, one of four charges he has faced in a trial lasting months.

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

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

Judge Masipa ruled Thursday that there is no evidence supporting premeditated murder, but said there could be grounds for culpable homicide.

“Shooting the accused dead was a genuinely mistake as he thought he was shooting an intruder,” the judge said. “It tips the case in favour of the accused but key question is, if he can distinguish between right or wrong.”

A verdict on the relatively less serious charge of culpable homicide is awaited.

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