Oscar Pistorius's uncle Arnold hits out at state for pursuing premeditated murder

Pistorius's uncle slams state for causing 'distress'
© AFP
Oscar Pistorius's family "accept" the Paralympian's five-year prison sentence for killing Reeva Steenkamp, but criticise the state for pursuing premeditated murder.

Oscar Pistorius's uncle Arnold has revealed that the family "accept" the judge's decision to sentence the Paralympian to five years in prison for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but has hit out at the prosecution.

The 27-year-old discovered his fate at the High Court in Pretoria this morning, where a possible sentence of 15 years behind bars and non-custodial punishments were considered.

Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide after he claimed that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he fired four gunshots through a toilet door at his home in the early hours of Valentine's Day last year.

While the Pistorius family have no plans to appeal the sentence, Arnold has criticised the state for pursuing a premeditated murder charge.

In a statement delivered by Arnold Pistorius, the family said: "We have seen the seasons in the city coming and going and today a new season starts for us as a family, and the Steenkamp family.

"This has been an incredibly painful process for everyone involved. It has been a harrowing 20 months. We are all emotionally drained and exhausted.

"One of the most distressing parts for me of this trial is how the truth became totally irrelevant as the state attempted to make the premeditated murder charge stick. The court has now handed down judgement and sentence and we accept the judgement."

"Oscar will embrace this opportunity to pay back to society. After 20 months of relentless public trial, I ask you to let us move forward in this process and give us some degree of dignity and privacy as we do so.

"As a last word, I want to say something as an uncle: I hope Oscar will start his own healing process as we walk down the path of restoration. As a family we are ready to support and guide Oscar as he serves his sentence."

Pistorius's defence team have claimed that the double amputee will spend 10 months in jail and will serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest.

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius appears in Pretoria Magistrates Court for an indictment hearing on August 19, 2013
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