Home World Africa news Oscar Pistorius begins serving time in jail for killing Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius begins serving time in jail for killing Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius has begun jail sentence for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The South African Paralympic champion was driven to Pretoria’s Kgosi Mampuru prison where he is expected to be housed in the hospital wing.

Judge Thokozile Masipa gave Oscar Pistorius a five-year jail sentence for culpable homicide, but cleared him of murder.

Oscar Pistorius’ defense said it expected him to serve about 10 months, with the remainder under house arrest. His family say he will not appeal.

Reeva Steenkamp’s parents said they were happy with the sentence and relieved the case was over.

Prosecutors had called for a minimum 10-year term, and the defense had argued for community service and house arrest.

Oscar Pistorius, 27, an amputee sprinter who became the first athlete to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, killed Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

Oscar Pistorius has begun jail sentence for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius has begun jail sentence for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

He says he shot Reeva Steenkamp by mistake, fearing there was an intruder in his house in Pretoria.

Reeva Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, reality TV star and law graduate, was hit three times by bullets fired by Oscar Pistorius through a toilet door.

Oscar Pistorius showed little reaction to the sentence other than to wipe his eyes before being led away to a holding cell downstairs.

He was then driven away from court in an armored police van to Pretoria’s Kgosi Mampuru prison, where he was expected to undergo a medical assessment.

It is likely that he will be held in a one-man cell in the hospital wing, thought to be most appropriate for the athlete’s disability.

Correctional services spokesman Manelisi Wolela told AFP news agency Oscar Pistorius was “already accommodated at Kgosi Mampuru”.

He could be released after serving a sixth of his sentence, or 10 months, for good behavior.

However, Dup De Bruyn, a lawyer for the Steenkamp family, told Reuters that he believed Oscar Pistorius would probably serve two years.

Oscar Pistorius’s uncle, Arnold, said the family would not appeal against the sentence.

“We accept the judgment. Oscar will embrace the opportunity to pay back to society,” he said.

He appealed to the media to “accept the ruling of court and let us move forward in this process and give us some degree of dignity and privacy”.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said she considered her sentence “fair and just, both to society and to the accused”.

She said: “A non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community. On the other hand, a long sentence would also not be appropriate either, as it would lack the element of mercy.”

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

But she added: “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.”

Judge Thokozile Masipa also gave Oscar Pistorius a three-year suspended sentence for a separate incident – firing a gun in a restaurant.

The prosecution service said it would consider an appeal but expressed satisfaction that Oscar Pistorius had been given jail time.

However, the Women’s League of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress said it did plan to appeal.

“We’re doing this not only for Reeva but for the millions of South African women who are killed at the hands of their partners, people who are supposed to protect them,” said spokeswoman Khsuela Sangoni.

“A five-year sentence like this sends a message to society that it is fine to commit such heinous crimes as femicide, and you will be able to get away with a slap on the wrist.”

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