South Africa

Oscar Pistorius found guilty of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius will go back to jail after appeals court upgrades charge to murder.

OSCAR PISTORIUS WILL be returned to jail after an appeals court convicted him of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp.

A South African appeals court ruled that Pistorius should have been sentenced for murder rather than manslaughter.

The Supreme Court of Appeal judge found that the original trial judgement was ‘flawed’ and set aside the verdict of culpable homicide, convicting him of murder. Justice Eric Leach said that people should be convicted of the actual crimes they have committed.

Damning in his opinion of Pistorius’s evidence, he said he found it vacillating, untruthful, contradictory and confusing.


The 29-year-old Olympian spent one year in prison for the killing of his girlfriend on St Valentine’s Day in 2013. He claimed that he mistook her for an intruder, shooting through his bathroom door four times.

The prosecution’s appeal centred on ‘dolus eventualis’ which is a legal term for an awareness of the likely outcome of an action. In his trial, judge Thokozile Masipa acquitted Pistorius of murder under this principle. Today, Justice Leach said she erred in that decision.

During a one-day hearing at the appeal court in November, state prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued that the athlete intended to kill whoever was behind the locked toilet door through which he fired four bullets.

The judge agreed that Pistorius must have and should have foreseen the outcome of death by firing a lethal weapon four times through a door – into a small area – without a warning shot.

It is inconceivable that a rational person thought he was entitled to fire at this person with a heavy-duty firearm. He must have foreseen that the person behind the door might be injured.

Pistorius was released from prison on 19 October and was not in court today. He was due to spend the remainder of his five-year sentence under house arrest in his uncle’s Pretoria mansion. He will now be sent back to the trial court for fresh sentencing in early 2016.

In South Africa, murder charges come with a minimum prison term of 15 years. The one year already spent in jail will be taken into account in the new sentencing.


Reeva’s mother, June Steenkamp, was present in court for today’s hearing and was embraced by those that accompanied her at the conclusion.

Related: Oscar Pistorius cell shown to journalists in official prison tour

More: A ‘broke and broken’ Oscar Pistorius: From Olympic hero to jailed killer

“He killed her. He admits he killed her.” – Reeva Steenkamp’s parents in face of Pistorius release

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