South Africa's Appeal court changes Pistorius's jail sentence to 15 years

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. It issued the ruling after the prosecution appealed his previous sentence of six years as too lenient.

Pistorius was once best known for winning gold at the 2004 Athens Paralympics and for successfully fighting to compete in the 2012 London Olympics alongside able-bodied runners.

"They feel there has been justice for Reeva".

Media reported that Steenkamp was planning a surprise for Pistorius on Valentine's Day, but he mistook her for a robber.

The BBC reports that a lower court had "justified the six-year sentence by citing mitigating circumstances such as rehabilitation and remorse".

Judge Willie Seriti, reading out the court's decision, said: "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".

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

The athlete was originally convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years in jail.

Supreme Court judges are generally reluctant to change sentences handed down by trial courts, and it's rare for them to change one so dramatically. Fifteen years is the country's usual minimum sentence for murder.

Pistorius, who turned 31 on Wednesday, is being held at the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre on the outskirts of the South African capital, Pretoria, and did not attend any of the appeal hearings.

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

The judge described Pistorius as a "fallen hero" who will never be at peace and sentenced him to six years in prison. He was reportedly not in court on Friday to hear the decision on his sentence.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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