Oscar Pistorius’ prison sentence was more than doubled to 13 years and five months, the Associated Press reports. It was a surprisingly dramatic intervention by South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeals in the Olympic athlete’s fate after the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Justice Willie Seriti said a panel of judges unanimously upheld an appeal by prosecutors against Pistorius’ original six-year sentence for shooting Steenkamp several times in his home in 2013.
Under the initial sentence, which the court called “shockingly lenient,” the double-amputee runner could have been released on parole in mid-2019. Now, the earliest he’ll be eligible for parole is 2023. The ruling could bring an end to the near five-year legal saga surrounding Pistorius, a multiple Paralympic champion and record-breaker who was the first amputee to run at the Olympics and one of the most celebrated sportsmen in the world. Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June, “feel there has been justice for Reeva. She can now rest in peace,”said their lawyer, Tania Koen. Pistorius killed Steenkamp in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 after shooting four times through a closed toilet cubicle door with his 9 mm pistol. He claimed he mistook the 29-year-old model and reality TV star for an intruder. Prosecutors called the six-year sentence much too lenient and the Supreme Court agreed, saying that “the sentence of six years’ imprisonment is shockingly lenient to a point where it has the effect of trivialising this serious offence.”