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Published: 10:03 | 6/7/16

Pistorius sentenced to six years in prison

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

Pistorius shot Reeva Steenkamp after mistaking her for a burglar in the early hours of Valentine's Day in 2013, but was cleared of murder following a seven-month trial with Judge Thokozile Masipa finding him guilty of culpable homicide.

The Paralympian was sentenced to five years in jail but he was released after just one year to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest.

South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal, however, ruled the original trial judge did not correctly apply the rule of ‘dolus eventualis' and upgraded his conviction to murder.

Although murder carries a minimum term of 15 years in prison, Judge Thokozile Masipa claimed mitigating circumstances warranted a shorter sentence before imposing a six-year sentence, claiming "a long term in prison will not serve justice".

"Public opinion may be loud and persistent but it can play no role in the decision of this court," she said.

"Although a custodial sentence is a proper sentence, I am of a view that a long term of imprisonment will not serve justice in this matter.

"The accused has already served a sentence of 12 months' imprisonment, he is a first offender and, considering the facts of this matter, he is not likely to reoffend."

Following the sentencing hearing, Pistorius was taken to Khosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria and he is obliged to serve half of his new sentence before being eligible for parole.

Both the prosecution and defence can appeal the sentence, but Pistorius' lawyers have confirmed that he will not.

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