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Pistorius gets 5 years jail for girlfriend's death

Pistorius gets 5 years jail for girlfriends death

Pretoria: South African athlete Oscar Pistorius Tuesday arrived at Pretoria's Kgosi Mampuru prison, after he was handed a five-year jail sentence for killing his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.

The 27-year-old amputee sprinter, who became the first to compete in the Paralympic as well as the Olympics Games, is expected to remain only 10 months in jail and could be released after he has served a sixth of the sentence, legal experts said.

Pistorius was transferred to jail in a police van two hours after judge Thokozile Masipa delivered a verdict in the High Court in Pretoria, Efe news agency reported.

He will undergo a medical examination before being taken to his cell, South African news agency SAPA reported.

Due to his disability, Pistorius would occupy a single cell in the hospital section of the prison, Director of South Africa's National Prison Authority, Zach Modise, said.

Judge Masipa said the athlete, who had his legs amputated when he was 11 months old due to a genetic problem, would get proper care in jail, and rejected a request by his defence for a three-year house arrest and community work.

Prosecutors had asked for a 10-year jail sentence.

Pistorius killed Steenkamp Feb 14, 2013, when he shot her through a closed bathroom door in their Pretoria residence and later alleged he thought there was an intruder in the house.

In her Sep 12 verdict, Judge Masipa ruled out convicting Pistorius of murder after she gave credence to his version of the incident.

The prosecution, however, said Pistorius dealt with the perceived threat with gross negligence.

Pistorius made world headlines in the 2012 London Olympics, when he became the first sprinter in history with synthetic limbs to take part in the Olympic Games.

He stopped competing after the crime and has lost all his sponsors.

Meanwhile, the family of the slain model Tuesday welcomed the sentencing of Pistorius for the death of their daughter.

Steenkamp's father Barry said he was "very glad" the seven-month trial was over, Independent Online reported.

Steenkamp's mother, June, turned to a family friend, Gina Myers, to thank her for her steadfast support throughout the trial before leaving the courtroom.

Meanwhile, the African National Congress's (ANC) Women's League said that Pistorius’s sentence signalled a sad day for women in South Africa.

“We are saddened by the judgment, we have never been happy with the conviction of culpable homicide, instead of murder,” ANC Women's League spokeswoman Jacqui Mofokeng said.

“We call for the national prosecutions to appeal this sentence.”

Pistorius's uncle said after the sentencing that the athlete has accepted the court's justice and his family was now on the path to move on.

About an hour-and-a-half after Pistorius was sentenced, his family held a press conference outside a restaurant near the High Court in Pretoria.

Pistorius's uncle, Arnold, said the media had shared the process with the family over the months.

He said the seasons had come and gone, and now a new season had started for the family.

He said it was a painful process for everyone involved and the family was entirely emotionally drained and exhausted.

Arnold said that the State had insisted on pushing for a pre-meditated murder conviction, not caring about the collateral damage it left in its path.

He believed that one of the most distressing parts of the trial was how the truth became totally irrelevant in trying to make murder stick.

"The court has now handed down judgment and sentence and we accept this," he said.

According to Arnold, Pistorius will embrace the opportunity to pay back to society.

After 20 months of relentless public scrutiny, he asked the media and general public "to let the family move forward in this process and give us some degree of dignity and privacy".

As an uncle, he said he hoped Pistorius would start his own healing process as he walked the path of restoration.

Pistorius was also sentenced to three years, suspended for five years, for firing a pistol under a table at Tasha's restaurant in Johannesburg in January 2013.

The two sentences will run concurrently

He was, however, found not guilty of shooting through the open sun roof of a car in Modderfontein Sep 30, 2012, and of illegal possession of ammunition.

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