Pistorius sentenced to five years for manslaughter | News | DW | 21.10.2014
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Pistorius sentenced to five years for manslaughter

Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced in a South African courtroom. He is to serve five years in prison following a manslaughter conviction.

Paralympic athletics star Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday.

Pistorius was convicted in September of South Africa's equivalent of manslaughter following the shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp, his girlfriend. The prosecution had asked for a sentence of at least 10 years.

Defense lawyers of Pistorius argued a jail term would "break" him, and said imprisonment would be harmful to his current emotional state. They called for three years of house arrest with community service.

The judge in the case, Thokozile Masipa, said a non-custodial case was not appropriate. Responding to the defense's claims that due to Pistorius's disability - he had his lower legs amputated as a child - he would be particularly vulnerable in prison, Masipa said, "yes, the accused is vulnerable, but he also has excellent coping skills."

"It would be a sad day for this country if an impression were to be created that there was one law for the poor and disadvantaged and another for the rich and famous," she added.

Pistorius was also convicted of a separate firearms charge and was given a three-year suspended sentence.

The South African double-amputee Paralympian champion, who also competed in races at the 2012 Olympics, went on trial on March 3, 2014.

On February 14, 2013, he fired four hollow-point bullets through a locked toilet door in his Pretoria home, killing his girlfriend of three months.

Pistorius claimed in testimony that he believed he had been shooting at an intruder.

A lawyer for Steenkamp's family said they felt the judge had delivered "the right sentence."

mz/ipj (AFP, Reuters)

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