Oscar Pistorius arrives at the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa Wednesday, July 6, 2016. A South Africa judge is expected to announce Pistorius' new sentence after his conviction was changed to murder for shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed

PRETORIA, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six years in prison for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius stood and faced Judge Thokozile Masipa as she announced the sentence in a South African courtroom on Wednesday.

Pistorius was facing a possible 15-year jail term for shooting Steenkamp through a toilet cubicle door at his home in 2013, but Masipa said substantial and compelling circumstances existed in the double-amputee Olympic runner’s case to give him a lesser sentence.

Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June, were present in the courtroom, which was packed with relatives of both Pistorius and Steenkamp and other observers.



In reading out the sentence, Judge Masipa said Pistorius was a “fallen hero.”

The judge ordered a recess to give prosecutors and Pistorius’ defense lawyers time to decide if either wanted to appeal the sentence.

Story by: Christopher Torchia, Gerald Imray