Oscar Pistorius Gets Five Years For Killing Girlfriend

Judge Thokozile Masipa
Judge Thokozile Masipa

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been jailed for five years for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Thokozile Masipa, issuing the ruling in court in Pretoria, also gave Pistorius a three-year suspended sentence for a firearms charge.

The prosecution had called for a minimum 10-year sentence; the defence for community service and house arrest.

Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide but cleared of murder.

‘Feeling of unease’

Judge Masipa said: “Sentencing is about achieving the right balance. Sentencing is not a perfect exercise.”

Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius, Jan 2013 Oscar Pistorius shot dead Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year
Oscar Pistorius shot dead Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year

She said there must be a balance between retribution, deterrence and rehabilitation.

The judge began summarising the evidence brought before the trial.

She described the evidence of defence witness and social worker Annette Vergeer as “slapdash and disappointing”.

Ms Vergeer had argued Pistorius would be “a lot more vulnerable than the normal man” in jail.

But Judge Masipa said she was sure prisons were equipped to cater for the requirements of a special needs inmate.

She also said she had a “feeling of unease” at what she called an overemphasis on the athlete’s vulnerability.

However, she said Pistorius had made an “enormous contribution to society”, in his charity work and in changing the public perception of disability.

The judge then read out a quote from previous legal opinion, saying that if sentences were too lenient, the administration of justice may fall into disrepute.

She said she found the suggestions of sentences made by defence witnesses “not appropriate”.


Pistorius, 27, an amputee sprinter who became the first athlete to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, killed Ms Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year.

He says he shot her by mistake, fearing there was an intruder in his house in the capital, Pretoria.

3D animation of the apartment
3D animation of the apartment

Ms 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.

Last month, Judge Masipa cleared Pistorius of murder, but convicted him of culpable homicide, saying he had been negligent.

The high-profile, seven-month trial has captured public attention in South Africa and beyond.

There is no legal limit on the length of a jail term, but experts say the typical maximum sentence for culpable homicide is around 15 years.

However, even after the sentence is announced in Pretoria, the case may not be over.

Both the prosecution and the defence have the right to appeal against the verdict.


3 thoughts on “Oscar Pistorius Gets Five Years For Killing Girlfriend

  1. In the act a life was lost and there is no way you pay back especially the family that lost their own.However,we should appreciate that courts use what we render to them so ultimately that is what they could do.

    1. I salute the South African Justice System. At least the judge was allowed to complete the court process without interference from the Director of Public Prosecution!!!!

  2. So let me put this Kind of justice this way, in short: kill your Partner or anyone you dont wish life as soon as he she goes to the toilet or any other room by Shooting, the worst you can get is 10 months imprisonment and the rest of the 4 years and 2 months are house Arrest. Mind you the victim is dead to speak for herself. Ummmh

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