South African 'Blade Runner' Pistorius
Send a link to a friend
[April 18, 2016]
By Zandi Shabalala
PRETORIA (Reuters) - Disgraced Paralympic
gold medalist Oscar Pistorius will be sentenced in June for the 2013
murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, after his original conviction
was upgraded from the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Pistorius, 29, known as "Blade Runner" for the carbon fiber
prosthetic blades he used to race, faces a minimum 15-year jail
sentence and cannot appeal after the country's top court ruled in
March that he had exhausted all his legal options.
Dressed in a black suit, he showed no signs of emotion during the
brief court appearance and spoke on his cellphone as he left the
court. He denies killing Steenkamp, saying he mistook her for an
intruder at his home.
"The matter is postponed to the 13th of June 2016, High Court Judge
Aubrey Ledwaba said of the final sentencing. "It will be heard until
the 17th of June 2016."
Outside the court, a group of people in white t-shirts gathered in
support of Pistorius holding placards.
Pistorius initially received a five-year sentence for "culpable
homicide", South Africa's equivalent of manslaughter.
He was released from prison last October after almost a year behind
bars and allowed to serve out his term under house arrest on his
uncle's property in a wealthy suburb of Pretoria.
But in December, the Supreme Court upgraded the conviction on appeal
to murder. He was allowed to stay at his uncle's pending the final
decisions on appeals and sentencing.
The runner, whose lower legs were amputated when he was a baby and
went on to become a global sporting hero, has lost millions of
dollars in endorsements and sponsorships.
[to top of second column]
He reached the pinnacle of his fame in London 2012 when he became
the first double amputee to run in the Olympics, reaching the
Pistorius' family spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess declined to comment
on media reports that the athlete had been hospitalized over the
"I have spoken to the family and they don't want to talk about it.
They see it as a private matter and won't be commenting," Burgess
Steenkamp's parents did not attend the hearing.
The case has prompted a fierce debate in a country beset by high
levels of violent crime. Some rights groups had said the white track
star got preferential treatment.
(Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Tom Heneghan)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.