BREAKING: Oscar Pistorius sentenced to five years in prison for culpable homicide

by Chidi Okoye

A court in Pretoria, South Africa has sentenced blade runner, Oscar Pistorius to five years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

On the first count of culpable homicide, he was given a five year sentence, while on the firearms charge, Pistorius got three years in jail, wholly suspended for five years.

While reading the sentence, Judge Thokozile Masipa said that although she had been aided by assessors, the decision was hers alone. She also added that it was important for mercy to be meted out to him.

“I am of the view that a non-custodial sentence would send a wrong message to the community. On the other hand, a long sentence would not be appropriate either, as it would lack the element of mercy,” she said.

Last month, Judge Masipa had cleared Pistorius of murder, but convicted him of culpable homicide, citing negligence on his part.

The prosecution had called for a minimum 10-year sentence, while the defence asked for community service and house arrest. Both the prosecution and the defence have the right to appeal against the verdict.

Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, reality TV star and law graduate, was hit three times by bullets fired by Pistorius through a toilet door on Valentine’s Day in 2013. He said he shot her by mistake, fearing there was an intruder in his house in Pretoria.

27-year-old Pistorius is the first athlete to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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