Oscar Pistorius was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend, in an appeal court ruling that could see him back in prison for 15 years.
The Supreme Court upgraded Pistorius’s, 29, sentence on appeal to murder from culpable homicide for which he had received a five-year sentence.
Simultaneously, Pistorius was released from prison sent into house arrest on 19 October. He spent a day less than a year behind bars for shooting dead his girlfriend and model Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013, a case which continues to fascinate South Africa.
The ruling African National Congress party’s Women’s League welcomed the ruling, dancing and singing outside the court. The party members attended the court since the trial began along with Steenkamp’s family.
A new sentence will be handed down to Pistorius, who was meant to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest in Pretoria, at a later date. He is likely to remain on parole until then, unless a court rules otherwise, officials said.
In their appeal, prosecutors argued Pistorius should be convicted of murder for firing four shots through a locked toilet door. They said he intended to kill Steenkamp and that she had fled to the toilet during an altercation.
“This case involves a human tragedy of Shakespearean proportions,” Judge Eric Leach said, as he read the ruling. He added, “As a matter of common sense, at the time the shots were fired, the possibility of a person’s death behind the door was an obvious result.”
Anneliese Burgess, the Pistorius family’s spokeswoman, said the family would wait for lawyers’ advice on what to do next.
Steenkamp’s mother June, who has said she does not want retribution, attended the court session. She shed tears as she left the court after the new judgement was handed down. Barry Steenkamp, Reeva’s father welcomed the new verdict.