Oscar Pistorius gets six year sentence for murder

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By Catherine Hardy
Oscar Pistorius gets six year sentence for murder

What is happening?

Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six years in prison for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Thokozile Masipa told the court in Pretoria that aggravating and mitigating circumstances had been taken into account, leading her to pass a sentence much lower than the statutory term.

News of the sentence has been met with shock and dismay by some, as it is much lower than the statutory minimum for murder.

In South Africa, that is normally fifteen years.

Both the prosecution and defence have the right to appeal the sentence.

The Pistorius defence team says they have no plans to do so.

There has been no comment so far from lawyers acting for the family of his victim, Reeva Steenkamp.

State prosecutors said Pistorius has shown no remorse and have called for him to receive no less than the minimum sentence.

But the judge disagreed, saying Pistorius had repeatedly tried to contact his girlfriend’s family to apologise.

Reeva Steenkamp

Reeva Steenkamp was the girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius.

She died after he shot her four times through a locked toilet door at his home in South Africa in February 2013.

Hasn’t there already been a court case?


The state appealed against an earlier conviction for manslaughter. Pistorius served nine months of a five-year sentence.

The verdict was criticised as being too lenient by women’s groups.

It was upgraded to murder last December by the court of appeal in Pretoria.


  • February 2013 – Shoots dead girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
  • March 2014 – trial begins
  • September 2014 – found guilty of culpable homicide
  • October 2014 – begins five-year sentence
  • October 2015 – transferred to house arrest
  • December 2015 – verdict changed to murder on appeal

    Can Pistorius appeal?


Both the prosecution and the defence have the right to appeal the sentence.

During the hearing, his defence lawyers asked Pistorius to walk on his stumps to show the difficulty he faced when dealing with the threat of an intruder.

Pistorius’ lawyers argued that his physical disability and mental stress should be considered as mitigating circumstances when his sentence was being considered.

Pistorius: the athlete

Oscar Pistorius’ legs were amputated below the knee when he was a baby.

  • Six-time Paralympic gold medallist
  • First amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics (2012), winning gold medal.