South Africa’s appeals court extended Oscar Pistorius’s jail term to 13 years and 5 months, ruling a lower court was wrong to offer the disabled Olympian leniency when sentencing him for the murder of his model girlfriend.
The Paralympic gold medalist shot Reeva Steenkamp in the bathroom of his home in the country’s capital, Pretoria, on Valentine’s Day in 2013, saying he mistook her for an intruder. While the double-amputee was convicted of murder, High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa took circumstances including his state of mind into account in giving him a reduced sentence.
The Supreme Court of Appeal found on Friday that there were no reasons to give a lesser term than the prescribed 15 years, but took into account time already served. It was the second time the senior judges had overruled the High Court. Masipa originally convicted Pistorius, 31, of manslaughter before the appeals court ruled that he was guilty of murder, citing “errors of law” in the first verdict. She then sentenced him to only 6 years.
Pistorius won six Paralympic gold medals and was the first double-amputee runner to compete at the Olympic Games, in London in 2012. He was born without fibula in both legs, which were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old.