Oscar Pistorius sentenced to six years in prison

Oscar Pistorius in the courtroom (Reuters)
Oscar Pistorius in the courtroom (Reuters)

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six years in jail for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.

Pistorius, 29, was found guilty of Ms Steenkamp's murder by an appeals court in December.

"A long-term imprisonment will not serve justice," said judge Thokozile Masipa during sentencing.

Ms Masipa said the mitigating factors outweighed the aggravating and this was why she deviated from the minimum sentence for murder - 15 years.

She listed the mitigating factors. They included: Pistorius was vulnerable on his stumps without prostheses, he believed the person in the bathroom was an intruder and he took steps "immediately to try to save the deceased's life". The judge also said she believed the accused was genuinely remorseful.

Pistorius initially received a five-year sentence for a manslaughter conviction in 2014, which he served one year of before being released into house arrest.

The original conviction of culpable homicide was overturned and upgraded to murder after an appeal to South Africa's Supreme Court.

The defence argued, at the sentence hearing in June, Pistorius did not need to be locked away, with community service the preferred punishment.

"Punishment is not meant to break the defendant. The accused does not fall into the category of offender who should be removed from society," defence council Barry Roux said.

The state argued while the defence had shone light on the suffering of Pistorius, nothing was said for Ms Steenkamp.

"She is just as important as the personal circumstances of the accused. She can never walk in court," said chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Prosecution argued for at least the 15 year minimum sentence for murder.

Mr Nel said the "broken man" in the courtroom was not Pistorious but the father of the victim Barry Steenkamp.

Mr Steenkamp said he had forgiven his daughter's killer, but that did not mean he wanted a soft sentence.

"Forgiveness has more to do with the person forgiving than with the crime," Mr Steenkamp said.

Pistorius shot his girlfriend dead through a bathroom door on Valentine's Day 2013.

He has maintained that he thought she was an intruder.

Pistorius has spoken about the night he killed Ms Steenkamp, and you can watch the interview on 3NOW here.