Pistorius Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Murder of Girlfriend

The state had called for the Paralympic gold medalist to receive no less than the prescribed minimum 15-year sentence for murder.

Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius looks on during the hearing in his murder trial at the High Court in Pretoria, on July 6, 2016.
Marco Longari, AFP

South African Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius was taken to jail immediately on Wednesday after being sentenced to serve six years for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. 

The state had called for him to receive no less than the prescribed minimum 15-year sentence for murder. 

"Public opinion may be loud and persistent, but it can play no role in the decision of this court," High Court judge Thokozile Masipa said in her ruling.

Steenkamp, a 29-year-old law graduate and model, died almost instantly on Valentine's Day in 2013 when Pistorius shot her three times through a locked toilet door at his luxury Pretoria home.

The athlete maintained that he fired in the mistaken belief an intruder was hiding behind the door, a defense that struck a chord in a country with one of the world's highest rates of violent crime.

The athlete, known as "Blade Runner" because of his carbon-fiber prosthetics, became one of the biggest names in world athletics at the London 2012 Olympics when he reached the semifinals of the 400-meter race against able-bodied athletes.