Oscar Pistorius will now spend much longer in jail for killing Reeva Steenkamp

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Moya Crockett
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The convicted murderer’s sentence has been more than doubled. 

Oscar Pistorius’ prison term for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp has been more than doubled, after a South African court accepted prosecutors’ argument that his original sentence was “shockingly light”.

The Olympic athlete shot and killed Steenkamp, his girlfriend at the time, on Valentine’s Day 2013. In October 2014, he was acquitted of premediated murder but found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years in prison.

He was later found guilty of murder after an appeal hearing in 2015, and began a new sentence of six years’ imprisonment in 2016.

However, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein has now ruled that Pistorius should serve 15 years in jail – the minimum sentence for murder in South Africa – minus time already served. In total, this means that his term will amount to 13 years and five months in jail.

A spokeswoman for Steenkamp’s family said the ruling “verified there was justice”, BBC News reports. 

Model and paralegal Reeva Steenkamp, who was murdered by Oscar Pistorius in 2013

Pistorius has admitted that he shot Steenkamp four times through a locked bathroom door in his home in Pretoria, and that this caused her death. However, he has always claimed that he believed his girlfriend – a model and paralegal, who hoped to become a barrister – was an intruder.

The sprinter’s controversial six-year sentence was originally given to him by one of South Africa’s lower courts. Judge Thokozile Masipa, who presided over that case, said that mitigating circumstances including Pistorius’ rehabilitation and remorse outweighed factors such as his failure to fire a warning shot.

During that sentencing, Judge Masipa described the athlete as a “fallen hero” who would never find peace.

South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been pursuing a longer prison term for Pistorius since 2014.

The Steenkamp family’s spokesperson said that the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision represented “justice for Reeva”, CNN reports.

She added that the family hopes “this is the end of the road and that everyone can move forward.”

Images: Rex Features