Oscar Pistorius Jailed For Six Years For Murdering Reeva Steenkamp

The decision has been an unpopular one...

Oscar Pistorius Jailed For Six Years For Murdering Reeva Steenkamp

by Charlotte Davey |
Published on

Today Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six years in prison for murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp following a trial that has been riddled with controversy. A large portion of the South African public and state had called for Pistorius to serve at least 15 years after he showed no remorse for shooting the South African law graduate and model, Steenkamp, four times on Valentine's Day in 2013. Despite public outcry, judge Thukozile Masipa accepted the defence's case for a lesser punishment, saying 'public opinion may be loud and persistent but it can play no role in the decision of this court,' she continued by expressing her belief that a longer sentence would 'not serve justice.'

Masipa originally gave Pistorius a five year sentence for culpible homicide in 2014, a ruling condemned by women's groups for its leniency. After serving less than a year, he was freed in October to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest in the large home of his uncle in a wealthy suburb. The charge was changed by appeal to one of murder, which carries a mandatory 15 year sentence. However, today's ruling will see Pistorius serve just six years and he will be eligible for parole before the end of this sentence.

In her judgement, Masipa statedthat the evidence had convinced her that Pistorius was unlikely to reoffend and was 'not a violent person.' Despite the Steenkamp family's tragic loss, the judge stated that Pistorius' life would also never be the same, describing him as a 'fallen hero' who would never find peace. The decision has been an unpopular one, and Jacqui Mofokengof the African National Congress women's league has described the judge, Masipa, as an 'embarrasment to the judgement system,' saying that the sentence was 'an insult to women.' Other rights groups have suggested that Pistorius' preferential sentence is due to him being an affluent white male and international celebrity.

Pistorius, who shot Steenkamp four times through a bathroom door, has always maintained that he believed he was shooting an intruder who was hiding in the toilet cubicle. Prosecutors believed he killed her in a jealous rage. Reeva's father, Barry Steenkamp, said 'I think of Reeva every day, every day of my life, morning, noon and night.'

Witnesses said Pistorious showed little emotion and looked relieved at the verdict.

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Follow Charlotte on Twitter: @CharlotteDuvet

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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