Oscar Pistorius has been jailed for five years for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day last year. The 27-year-old was found guilty of culpable homicide last month.
Judge Thokozile Masipa Tuesday had ruled that the Olympic and Paralympic athlete did not intend to kill his girlfriend when he fired through the bathroom door at his home in Pretoria, South Africa.
“Having regard to the circumstances in the matter I am of the view that a non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community,” she said.
“On the other hand, a long sentence would also not be appropriate either, as it would lack the element of mercy, what may appear to be justice to the general public may not be justice. Society cannot always get what they want,” Masipa added. She said Pistorius’ skill using a gun was an aggravating factor but that she also recognised his remorse.
She stated that “He fired not one shot but four shots into the door” of a small cubicle “with no room for escape.”
It brings to a close the sprinter’s seven-month trial, which attracted worldwide attention. One of the most sensational trials in the country’s history, the sentence is expected to fuel further controversy about race and money in its justice system.
Pistorius’ legal team argued during the marathon trial that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder and believed they were both in danger. His lawyer Barry Roux said the athlete had “lost everything” after the 29-year-old model’s death, and argued he should not go to prison. He also said the ‘Blade Runner’ athlete, whose lower legs were amputated as a baby, would face particular difficulties in jail.