Pistorius: from Olympic glory to jail for murder
A South African judge on Friday rejected an appeal by the state against a six-year jail sentence for Paralympian Oscar Pistorius who murdered his girlfriend in 2013.
Prosecutors had protested against the length of term — which is less than half the minimum for murder in South Africa — as “shockingly lenient”.
Here is a timeline of events that followed the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013.
– 2013 –
February 14: Police arrest the double-amputee Olympic and Paralympic sprinter for killing Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, who was shot four times at his Pretoria home.
February 15: Pistorius bursts into tears as he is charged, denying murder “in the strongest terms”.
February 19: Pistorius claims in an affidavit he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder. He fired through a locked bathroom door in what prosecutors term “premeditated” murder.
February 21: Global sportswear manufacturer Nike suspends its sponsorship contract with the athlete.
February 22: Pistorius is granted bail.
– 2014 –
March 3: The trial opens in Pretoria before an army of journalists from around the world, with the testimony of a neighbour who tells the court she heard “terrible screams” from a woman. Ten days later, Pistorius vomits when a picture of Steenkamp’s body is flashed on the court’s television screens.
April 7-15: Pistorius takes the stand and begins with a tearful apology to Steenkamp’s family. This is followed by five days of often intense cross-examination, marked by bouts of tears and breaks in the session. Pistorius steadfastly denies any intention to kill Steenkamp.
June 30: After a six-week break, a panel of three psychiatrists and a psychologist conclude that Pistorius does not suffer from mental illness.
September 12: Judge Thokozile Masipa finds Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide or manslaughter.
October 21: The judge sentences him to a maximum of five years in jail. He is immediately taken to Pretoria prison.
– 2015 –
October 20: Pistorius is allowed out of prison after just one year to spend the remainder of his sentence under house arrest.
December 3: The Supreme Court of Appeal convicts him of murder, saying his testimony was “vacillating and untruthful”.
December 8: Pistorius is released on bail pending sentencing, and remains under house arrest.
– 2016 –
March 2: Pistorius, now 29, loses his final bid to appeal his murder conviction.
July 6: He is sentenced to six years in jail for murder, but prosecutors later appeal.
August 14: South African media reports say Pistorius is put on 24-hour suicide watch.
August 26: Masipa, the same judge who issued the six-year term, rejects the state appeal for a longer sentence.