The former Paralympian and so-called Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorius, stood in a South African court this morning as the judge delivered his sentence for the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
South Africa and the rest of the world were gripped by the Pistorius’s trial, which lasted for 41 days and heard from 37 witnesses. During her delivery of the verdict, Judge Masipa said that Pistorius was in control of his actions: “There’s a huge difference between a reflex and involuntary action.” She went on to say that he “took a conscious decision” to shoot and that “he knew where he kept his firearm and where the bathroom was.”
Pistorius had claimed to the police and in court that he fired at the door of the bathroom after hearing a noise and that he fired without thinking, an “accidental discharge;” the defence team argued that Pistorius had genuinely believed his life – and the life of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp – were in danger. The prosecution disagreed, arguing instead that it was a deliberate and premeditated murder.
The judge said she had examined Pistorius’s circumstances and background and found that although he had offered an explanation for his conduct, it was not an excuse and that she had concluded that Pistorius had been negligent in his behaviour.
After 41 long days, Judge Thokozile Masipa delivered a carefully considered verdict of Culpable Homicide. Mr Pistorius listened to the verdict with obvious tears rolling down his face and his shoulders heaving from sobbing.
Today Judge Masipa ruled that Pistorius must serve 5 years in prison.