JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal on Friday increased the prison sentence handed down to paralympian Oscar Pistorius to 13 years and five months for the murder of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.
The ruling came after the prosecution appealed against the 6-year jail term Pistorius had initially received, calling it “shockingly lenient.”
In the ruling, the members of the court agreed with the prosecution – which asked for the minimum mandatory jail term of 15 years for murder – that the earlier sentence was inappropriate, Judge Legoable Willie Seriti said on Friday.
Pistorius, 31, shot his girlfriend four times through the bathroom door of his Pretoria residence on Feb. 14, 2013.
The athlete claimed he mistook her for a burglar.
This was the second time that the Public Prosecutor’s office appealed the sentence against Pistorius, the first being in Oct. 2014, when he was sentenced to 5 years in prison for homicide on the grounds that he had no intention of killing the victim.
After the Prosecutor’s appeal, the SCA annulled the sentence for homicide and declared Pistorius guilty of murder, concluding that he intended to kill the person who was in the toilet, regardless of whether he thought it was an intruder or Steenkamp.
The case returned to the Pretoria High Court in July 2016, when Judge Thokozile Masipa pronounced a 6-year prison sentence for murder.
The Prosecutor’s office, having asked for a minimum of 15 years in jail, as prescribed by South African law, called the sentence “shockingly lenient,” and again appealed the ruling.
Arguments presented to the SCA by the prosecution stated that Pistorius never gave a convincing reason to clarify why he fired four times, and that he was not a vulnerable individual but a highly trained athlete.
Pistorius, who had both legs amputated due to a genetic disease when he was 11 months old, reached the top of world athletics running on splints made of prosthetic carbon, becoming known as “the Blade Runner.”
He became the first athlete with amputated legs to compete at the Olympics in London in 2012.