Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius has been found guilty of murder over the death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. A South African appeals court overturned his previous conviction of manslaughter.
Pistorius killed his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day in 2013 after shooting her four times through a locked toilet door. Pistorius had said he thought she was an intruder. After serving less than a year behind bars of his five-year sentence, the Paralympian runner was released and is currently living under house arrest.
South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the previous judge, Thokozile Masipa, made errors in law when passing down his verdict last year and did not correctly apply the rule of dolus eventualis—a form of intent under South African law which is when the accused foresees the possibility of an illegal act, such as murder, but still acts anyway. Reading the ruling on behalf of the panel of judges, justice Eric Leach said:
In these circumstances, I have no doubt that in firing the fatal shots the accused must have foreseen that whoever was behind the toilet door might die, but reconciled with that event occurring, and gambled with that person’s life.”
He described Steenkamp’s death as “a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.”
Pistorius will remain under house arrest until he appears for re-sentencing for murder, the date of which has yet to be decided. Pistorius and his family were not in the court, which is custom, but June Steenkamp, Reeva’s mother, was.