Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years in prison for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Judge Thokozile Masipa handed down the sentence, bringing an end to a court case which has gripped South Africa for nearly eight months.
“Count one, culpable homicide, the sentence imposed is five years,” she said.
In addition to the maximum five-year sentence for culpable homicide, Pistorius was handed a three-year sentence, suspended for five years, for firearms offences.
Pistorius’ defence team however said they expect the athlete to serve just 10 months of the five-year sentence in jail, with the rest under house arrest. The Steenkamp family say they expect the Paralympian to serve a minimum two years in prison, and three under house arrest.
Oscar Pistorius’ defence lawyer says the athlete is expected to serve just 10 months of his five-year sentence in prison.
The Pistorius family have indicated that there will be no appeal against the sentence. His uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said: “The court has now handed down judgement and sentence, and we accept the judgement. Oscar will embrace this opportunity to pay back to society.”
That may not be the end of this case however – the prosecution team suggested that an appeal, not against the sentence but against the original conviction, is a possibility.
“We were disappointed with the conviction of culpable homicide,” said National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Nathi Mncube. “We have not made up our minds whether we are going to appeal or not. We have 14 days to consider the law and we will (need to) be sure that the facts and law will allow us to appeal.”
As she summed up her deliberations, Judge Masipa said: “Having regard to the circumstances in the matter, I am of the view that a non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community.
“On the other hand, a long sentence would also not be appropriate either, as it would lack the element of mercy.
“What may appear to be justice to the general public may not be justice. Society cannot always get what they want.”
She said Pistorius’ skill using a gun was an aggravating factor but that she also recognised his remorse.
Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years in prison for killing his girlfriend
She said he “fired not one shot but four shots into the door” of a small cubicle “with no room for escape”.