Pistorius’ ‘shockingly lenient’ murder sentence more than doubled
South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal has increased Oscar Pistorius' murder sentence to 13 years and five months, after the state argued his original jail term of six years was "shockingly lenient".
- Paralympian shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day, 2013
- Steenkamp family's "trust in justice system confirmed"
- Pistorius was originally convicted of manslaughter, but conviction was increased to murder
Pistorius was imprisoned in July last year after being found guilty on appeal of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013, in a case that attracted worldwide interest.
The athlete was not in court for Friday's ruling where the court handed down the minimum 15-year sentence prescribed for murder in South Africa, and subtracted the years Pistorius had already served in jail.
The Steenkamp family welcomed the increased sentence, saying it showed that justice could prevail in South Africa.
"This is an emotional thing for them. They just feel that their trust in the justice system has been confirmed this morning," Tania Koen, a spokeswoman for the Steenkamp family, told Reuters.
There was no immediate comment from representatives of Pistorius.
Pistorius shot Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, in the early hours of Valentine's Day, saying he mistook her for a burglar when he fired four times through the door of his bedroom toilet.
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.
Pistorius was originally convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years in jail.
In December 2015, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled he was guilty of murder when he opened fire with a high-calibre pistol he kept under his bed, irrespective of who he believed was behind the door. His sentence was increased to six years.
The athlete had the lower part of his legs amputated when he was a baby and his lawyers argued that his disability and mental stress should be considered as mitigating circumstances to reduce his sentence.
At a hearing in June last year, Pistorius, sobbing heavily, hobbled on his stumps across the courtroom to demonstrate his physical vulnerability.
Friday's decision likely brings an end to a near five-year legal saga surrounding the double-amputee athlete, a multiple Paralympic champion and record-breaker who was once one of the most celebrated sportsmen in the world.
Pistorius' lawyers have just one avenue open to them if they want to challenge the new sentence handed down by the Supreme Court, and that is to appeal to the Constitutional Court, the highest court in South Africa.