South African judge says insufficient evidence to convict Paralympian of murder, but culpable homicide still possible.
Oscar Pistorius has been cleared of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a dramatic vindication for the athlete who vehemently protested his innocence during a trial in South Africa that gripped millions around the world.
The Olympic and Paralympic athlete slumped forward in the dock and sobbed quietly as the judge, Thokozile Masipa, ruled that the state had failed to prove he was guilty of murder or premeditated murder, and that the evidence was “purely circumstantial”. He could not have foreseen killing whoever was behind the toilet door at his home in Pretoria, she said.
But the judge also said it was clear that Pistorius had acted unlawfully in shooting the person behind the door on Valentine’s Day last year. She was due to return after lunch to deliver her decision on whether the athlete was guilty of culpable homicide – manslaughter – which could result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years.