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Breaking: Court convicts Pistorius of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp

Appeal: Court finds Pistorius guilty of murder
Appeal: Court finds Pistorius guilty of murder

A South African appeals court has convicted Oscar Pistorius of murder, overturning his manslaughter conviction.

South Africa's top appeals court are sending "Blade Runner" Pistorius back to jail for killing his girlfriend on Valentine's Day 2013 in a sensational case that continues to fascinate and divide the nation.

The Supreme Court of Appeals today upgraded his conviction, meaning Pistorius will be re-sentenced.

It is understood the former athlete will remain under house arrest until his new sentencing. He could receive between 15 and 20 years for murder, although his sentence already served will be deducted.

Under South African law, he will serve at least half of the sentence issued.

It is also understood that Pistorius has one more possible avenue of appeal - the Constitutional Court. The judgments of this court are based on the constitution and is required to consider international human rights.

State prosecutors who lodged the appeal for today say Pistorius intended to kill Steenkamp and that she fled to a toilet during a row. Pistorius denies deliberately killing Steenkamp, saying he mistook her for an intruder at his home.

Last year a judge gave the disgraced Olympic and Paralympic gold medallist a five-year jail sentence for "culpable homicide" of Reeva Steenkamp.

The athlete left jail on parole in October and is meant to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest, but the Supreme Court of Appeals have now overruled the original verdict and have found him guilty of murder.

State prosecutors who lodged the appeal say Pistorius intended to kill Steenkamp and that she fled to a toilet during a row. Pistorius denies deliberately killing Steenkamp, saying he mistook her for an intruder at his home.

The case has prompted a fierce debate in a country beset by high levels of violent crime. Some rights groups say the white track star - dubbed "Blade Runner" because of the carbon fibre prosthetic blades he uses to race - got preferential treatment.

At the original trial in September last year, Judge Masipa ruled that the state had failed to prove intent or "dolus eventualis", a legal concept that centres on a person being held responsible for the foreseeable consequences of their actions.

Dolus eventualis refers to whether a person foresees the possibility that his or her action will cause death but carries on regardless.

Anneliese Burgess, the Pistorius family's spokeswoman, said the media need not camp outside the home of the athlete's uncle in a wealthy suburb of Waterkloof in the capital Pretoria where he has been living since being released on parole.

"To save all of you the trouble of camping out at the Pistorius home tomorrow, I thought it best to let you know in advance that there will not be an on-camera statement made tomorrow," she said.

Members of the ruling African National Congress party's Women's League have attended the court sessions in solidarity with Steenkamp's family and in support of women's rights.

Reuters