A South African appeals court on Friday extended the jail sentence of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius from six years to 13 years and five months for murdering his girlfriend.
“The appeal against sentence is upheld … The respondent is sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 13 years and five months,” judge Willie Seriti said, followed by audible gasps from the audience in the courtroom.
The 30-year-old sprinter, who was not present during the ruling, should have been sentenced to 15 years, but the court took into account the time Pistorius had already served, Seriti said.
The state prosecution had appealed the sentence earlier this month, saying that Pistorius’ punishment was too lenient.
The minimum sentence for murder in South Africa is 15 years.
In 2015, in a case that gripped South Africa and the world, Pistorius was found guilty of the Valentine’s Day murder of his girlfriend, the model Reeva Steenkamp.
The prosecution had argued that Pistorius’ disability should not have been a mitigating factor and that the athlete, who wept regularly throughout the trial, had not shown genuine remorse, but rather felt sorry for himself and regretted his actions.
The South African double-amputee sprinter, known as the “Blade Runner,” maintains he believed Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot her through the bathroom door.
It is the second time the prosecution is appealing. Pistorius was originally found guilty of culpable homicide with a five-year jail term, but this was changed to murder on appeal.
Pistorius, whose lower legs were amputated because of a congenital defect, soared to international fame after becoming the first amputee to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games.