The Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has been found guilty of culpable homicide for the fatal shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The guilty verdict on the manslaughter charge, a day after the judge Thokozile Masipa cleared him of murder, means Pistorius could receive anything from 15 years in prison to a suspended sentence, which would potentially allow the double amputee a chance to resurrect his sporting career. The court will resume for sentencing at a later date.
Masipa ordered Pistorius to stand as she delivered the guilty verdict. He stood ramrod with his hands folded in front of him.
After the verdict, he turned to his family while members of Steenkamp’s family comforted each other.
The Pistorius family has indicated to reporters in the courtroom that they will make a statement at some point. It is likely to be made by Arnold Pistorius, who has spoken for his nephew before. Pistorius has told the court he and his father, Henke, are estranged.
As she delivered her verdict, Masipa made it clear that that although the state did not have to prove a motive for murder, there was no evidence in front of the court to say that Pistorius wanted to kill Steenkamp.
She had said on the first day of delivering her verdict that it was clear Pistorius acted unlawfully in opening fire at his home, but the evidence for the murder charge was “purely circumstantial”.
As Pistorius was convicted on the culpable homicide charge, Masipa said he had acted negligently when he shot Steenkamp.
“A reasonable person, with a similar disability, would have foreseen that the person behind the door would be killed, and the accused failed to take action to avoid this,” she told the court.
Pistorius has said he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he shot four times through a locked bathroom door, killing her almost instantly.
He was cleared on two unrelated firearms charges – of firing a firearm through a sunroof and of illegal possession of ammunition – but found guilty on a third of illegally discharging a firearm in a crowded restaurant in January 2013, weeks before Steenkamp’s death.
Pistorius is being held in cells at the court until the judge returns with her decision, expected later on Friday, on whether to give him bail ahead of sentencing.-The Guardian