Oscar Pistorius to serve six years for murdering girlfriend

Oscar Pistorius, second from left, arrives at the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa Wednesday, July 6, 2016. A South African judge is expected to announce Pistorius' sentence for murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home on Valentine's Day 2013. (AP Photo/Shiraaz Mohamed)
Oscar Pistorius, second from left, arrives at the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa Wednesday, July 6, 2016. A South African judge is expected to announce Pistorius' sentence for murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home on Valentine's Day 2013. (AP Photo/Shiraaz Mohamed)

Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six years in prison for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius stood and faced Judge Thokozile Masipa as she announced the sentence in a Pretoria courtroom.

He was facing a possible 15-year jail term for shooting Steenkamp through a toilet cubicle door at his home in 2013, but Judge Masipa said substantial and compelling circumstances existed to give him a lesser sentence.

Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June, were in the courtroom, which was packed with relatives of both Pistorius and Steenkamp and other observers.

In reading out the sentence, Judge Masipa said Pistorius was a “fallen hero”.

The judge ordered a recess to give prosecutors and Pistorius’s defence lawyers time to decide if either wanted to appeal against the sentence.