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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Court more than doubles Pistorius' jail time for murder of girlfriend

South African Paralympic ordered to serve another 13 years and 5 months after prosecutors appealed 'lenient' six-year sentence

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at a party on January 26, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Waldo Swiegers / Heat Magazine / Gallo Images / Getty Images
Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp at a party on January 26, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Waldo Swiegers / Heat Magazine / Gallo Images / Getty Images

South Africa's supreme court on Friday increased Oscar Pistorius' murder sentence to 13 years and five months after the state argued that his original sentence of six years was "shockingly lenient".

Pistorius was imprisoned in July last year after being found guilty on appeal of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013.

The athlete was not present when the court handed down the minimum 15-year sentence prescribed for murder in South Africa, and subtracted the years Pistorius had already served.

"The sentence imposed ... in respect of murder is set aside and substituted with the following: the respondent is sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 13 years and five months," the court's ruling said.

Pistorius, a Paralympic gold medallist known as the "Blade Runner" because of his carbon-fibre prosthetics, has said he did not deliberately Steenkamp, a model and law graduate. She was killed when Pistorius fired four shots through the door of a bathroom in his home in the early hours of February 14, 2013. Pistorius has said he thought he was shooting at an intruder.

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Read more:

Pistorius tells South Africa court Steenkamp would want him to be freed

Pistorius must pay for killing my daughter, says Steenkamp’s father

Post-apartheid, inequality still rules in South Africa

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The athlete was originally convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years in jail. That conviction was increased to murder by the supreme court in December 2015 and his sentence was increased to six years by trial judge Thokozile Masipa.

There was no immediate comment from the Pistorius or Steenkamp families.

Rights groups in a country beset by high levels of violent crime against women say Pistorius received preferential treatment compared to non-whites and those without his wealth or international celebrity status.