JOHANNESBURG – A South African appeals court today more than doubled Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius’ sentence for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, bringing it up to 13 years and five months.
Here is a timeline of events following the shooting on Valentine’s Day in 2013, in a case that shocked the world.
Shot four times
Feb 14, 2013: Police arrest the Olympic and Paralympic sprinter for killing Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, who was shot four times at his Pretoria home.
Feb 15: Pistorius bursts into tears as he is charged, denying murder “in the strongest terms”.
Feb 19: Pistorius claims in an affidavit he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder. He said he fired through a locked bathroom door, in what prosecutors term “premeditated” murder.
Feb 21: Global sportswear manufacturer Nike suspends its sponsorship contract with the athlete.
Feb 22: Pistorius is granted bail.
The trial begins
March 3, 2014: The trial opens in Pretoria before crowds 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 Pistorius does not suffer from mental illness.
Sept 12: Judge Thokozile Masipa finds Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide or manslaughter.
Oct 21: The judge sentences him to a maximum of five years in jail. He is taken to Pretoria prison.
Under house arrest
Oct 20, 2015: Pistorius is allowed out of prison after just one year to spend the remainder of his sentence under house arrest.
Dec 3: The Supreme Court of Appeal convicts him of murder, saying his testimony was “vacillating and untruthful”.
Dec 8: Pistorius is released on bail pending sentencing, and remains under house arrest.
‘Shockingly lenient’ sentence
March 2, 2016: Pistorius, now 29, loses his final bid to appeal his murder conviction.
July 6: He is sentenced to six years in jail for murder.
Aug 14: South African media reports say Pistorius is put on 24-hour suicide watch.
Sept 15: Prosecutors say they will petition the Supreme Court of Appeal for a tougher sentence for Pistorius, having described the six-year term as “shockingly lenient”.
Nov 14: Prison authorities say Pistorius has been transferred to a prison adapted for disabled inmates just outside Pretoria to serve the rest of his sentence.
Jail term extended
Nov 3, 2017: The appeal court adjourns to consider its ruling after prosecutors argue that Pistorius’ jail term is too short, while defence lawyers say the judge handed down a fair sentence.
Nov 24: The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein more than doubles Pistorius’ sentence of six years to 13 years and five months. — AFP