Oscar Pistorious
Oscar Pistorious

Pretoria, July 6 (IANS) A South African court on Wednesday sentenced Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius to six years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.

Pretoria High Court judge Thokozile Masipa said in her ruling that Pistorius is “not a violent person” and had shown remorse and inclination to perform social work, reports Efe.

Masipa’s previous ruling and conviction for culpable homicide had been overturned last year by the South African Supreme Court of appeal.

“He is a fallen hero, who has lost his career, and been ruined financially,” the judge argued to justify a sentence that was considerably lower than the 15-year mandatory minimum sentence the public prosecutors had demanded. “He can not be at peace,” she added.

In her decision, Masipa said Pistorius was a “good candidate for rehabilitation,” as he had proven during the 10 months he spent in prison before being eligible for parole under house arrest.

He also “successfully” took part in various reintegration programmes.

“His disposition towards social work is a noble gesture,” the judge added.

Masipa said she had considered both mitigating and aggravating circumstances, concluding that the former outweighed the latter.

For example, Pistorius “immediately took steps to try to save the deceased’s life” and seemed “genuinely remorseful.”

Pistorius shot his girlfriend four times through the bathroom door of his Pretoria residence on February 14, 2013. The paralympic athlete claimed he had mistaken her for an intruder and panicked.

Masipa accepted this account and sentenced him to five years in prison for a crime of culpable homicide.

The country’s Supreme Court of appeal overturned this sentence, considering there had been a clear intent to kill, regardless of Pistorius’ knowledge of the victim’s identity, and declared him guilty of murder.

Wednesday’s sentence adds one year to the initial sentence and rejects the 15 years demanded by the public prosecution.

Pistorius’ defence team said that they will not appeal a six-year sentence given to the Paralympian by the high court.

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