South African Olympic athlete, Oscar Pistorius has finally been sentenced six years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.
This comes after his initial five-year conviction for manslaughter was changed to murder last December on appeal. Although, both the prosecution and defence can appeal, his lawyers said they will not.
The 29- year-old Olympian and Paralympic gold medalist shoths girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp four times through a locked toilet door in February 2013.
He admitted shooting her, but said he had mistaken her for an intruder and acted out of fear, but the prosecution called said it was a deliberate act after the two had an argument.
Many have expressed shock at Pistorius’s sentence, and have taken to social media to express their unhappiness over the sentence which is much less than the prescribed minimum for murder.
Outside court, legal experts said the sentence was too little. “The judge was sympathetic and empathetic to Pistorius. It was clear in the tone of her entire judgement,” one said.
But Judge Masipa said she had carefully considered the circumstances around Reeva Steenkamp’s death and her sentence needed to be fair to both Pistorius and the family of the deceased.
Campaigners for women’s rights in South Africa expressed disappointment with the sentence. Jacqui Mofokeng of the African National Congress women’s league, who has attended much of the trial and was in court today, said:
“The judgment is an insult to women. It sends the wrong message.”
South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world, and some say a short sentence will send the wrong message to would-be-offenders.
Judge Thokozile Masipa, during her ruling had maintained that there were “substantial and compelling circumstances” that meant Oscar should not serve the 15-year minimum sentence for murder.