Oscar Pistorius' prison sentence doubled

Image via AP

A South African court has increased Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius's jail sentence for killing his girlfriend to 13 years and five months.

After the conviction was appealed by the state on the basis that it was "shockingly lenient", it was replaced by a murder charge and Pistorius was sentenced to six years in prison, before the sentence was extended to 13 years and five months on Friday.

The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled his sentence be increased to 15 years, less time already served.

Pistorius was sentenced to five years for culpable homicide, and was eventually released from prison and placed under house arrest, before having his conviction overturned in favour of murder. He claimed he mistook the 29-year-old model and reality TV star for an intruder and was initially convicted of manslaughter by trial judge Thokozile Masipa.

The BBC reports that a lower court had "justified the six-year sentence by citing mitigating circumstances such as rehabilitation and remorse". "They just feel that their trust in the justice system has been confirmed this morning", Tania Koen, a spokeswoman for the Steenkamp family, told Reuters.

The new sentence was backdated to start on the day he began his murder sentence, on July 6 previous year.

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The ruling is likely the end of Pistorius' legal options.

Pistorius has to serve at least half of his new sentence before he is considered for parole.

Moments before sentencing was handed down in the Port Elizabeth High Court in Panayiotou's case, the SCA in Bloemfontein handed down a judgment changing Pistorius's jail term. "But, if one looks at what the law states, and given the fact that murder does carry the minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, I think the decision could be vindicated".

Oscar Pistorius in his murder trail at the High Court in Pretoria on 6 July 2016.

Pistorius failed with an appeal to the Constitutional Court past year to challenge his murder conviction.

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