Oscar Pistorius murder sentence increases to 13 years and 5 months

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 24 (Reuters) - South Africa's Supreme Court increased Oscar Pistorius' murder sentence on Friday to 13 years and five months after the state argued his original sentence of six years for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was "shockingly lenient."

Rights groups in a country beset by high levels of violent crime against women say Pistorius, a gold medal-winning athlete known as the "Blade Runner" for his carbon-fiber prosthetics, received preferential treatment compared to non-whites and those without his wealth or international celebrity status.

Take a look inside the trial:

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Oscar Pistorius during trial
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 15 (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius sits in the Pretoria High Court on October 15, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Judge Thokozile Masipa found Pistorius not guilty of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but convicted him of culpable homicide. Today, Sentencing continues today. (Photo by Antoine de Ras/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 15 (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius arrives at the Pretoria High Court on October 15, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Judge Thokozile Masipa found Oscar Pistorius not guilty of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but convicted him of culpable homicide. Sentencing continues today. (Photo by Deaan Vivier/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 15: Aimee Pistorius (L) and Carl Pistorius (R), Oscar Pistorius' brother and sister, arrives at North Gauteng High Court on October 15, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius will be sentenced having been found guilty of the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder.  (Photo by Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 15: Arnold Pistorius, the uncle of Oscar Pistorius, arrives at North Gauteng High Court on October 15, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius will be sentenced having been found guilty of the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder.  (Photo by Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 15: Barry Steenkamp arrives at North Gauteng High Court on October 15, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius will be sentenced having been found guilty of the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder.  (Photo by Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 15: Carl Pistorius, brother of Oscar Pistorius, arrives at North Gauteng High Court on October 15, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius will be sentenced having been found guilty of the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder.  (Photo by Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 14 (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius talks to his defence team in the Pretoria High Court for sentencing in his murder trial on October 14, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Judge Thokozile Masipa found Pistorius not guilty of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but convicted him of culpable homicide. Sentencing continues today. (Photo by Herman Verwey/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 14 (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Oscar Pistorius hugs his brother Carl Pistorius as he arrives in the Pretoria High Court for sentencing in his murder trial on October 14, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Judge Thokozile Masipa found Pistorius not guilty of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but convicted him of culpable homicide. Sentencing continues today. (Photo by Herman Verwey/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius gestures at the High Court in Pretoria on October 14, 2014, during his sentencing hearing after he was convicted of culpable homicide in the killing of his girlfriend, with his lawyers set to argue for leniency. The double-amputee track star last month escaped a murder conviction in a verdict that shocked the country and fuelled criticism of South Africa's legal system. AFP PHOTO/ POOL / Themba Hadebe (Photo credit should read THEMBA HADEBE/AFP/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 14: News broadcasters report from outside North Gauteng High Court on October 14, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius will be sentenced having been found guilty of the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder.  (Photo by Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images)
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius looks down while his phycologist gives evidences during his sentencing hearing at the High Court in Pretoria on October 13, 2014. Fallen paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius returns to court today at the start of his sentencing hearing after he was convicted of culpable homicide in the killing of his girlfriend, with his lawyers set to argue for leniency. The double-amputee track star last month escaped a murder conviction in a verdict that shocked the country and fuelled criticism of South Africa's legal system. AFP PHOTO/ POOL / MARCO LONGARI (Photo credit should read MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 13:  Oscar Pistorius arrives at North Gauteng High Court on October 13, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius will be sentenced having been found guilty of the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder.  (Photo by Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 13:  Oscar Pistorius arrives at North Gauteng High Court on October 13, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius will be sentenced having been found guilty of the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder.  (Photo by Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 13:  Oscar Pistorius arrives at North Gauteng High Court on October 13, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius will be sentenced having been found guilty of the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder.  (Photo by Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images)
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius (C) arrives at the High Court in Pretoria on October 13, 2014. Fallen paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius returns to court today at the start of his sentencing hearing after he was convicted of culpable homicide in the killing of his girlfriend, with his lawyers set to argue for leniency. The double-amputee track star last month escaped a murder conviction in a verdict that shocked the country and fuelled criticism of South Africa's legal system. AFP PHOTO/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius (R) looks on while listening to one of his defence lawyers at the High Court in Pretoria on October 13, 2014. Fallen paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius returns to court today at the start of his sentencing hearing after he was convicted of culpable homicide in the killing of his girlfriend, with his lawyers set to argue for leniency. The double-amputee track star last month escaped a murder conviction in a verdict that shocked the country and fuelled criticism of South Africa's legal system. AFP PHOTO/ POOL / MARCO LONGARI (Photo credit should read MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius (C) arrives at the High Court in Pretoria on October 13, 2014. Fallen paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius returns to court today at the start of his sentencing hearing after he was convicted of culpable homicide in the killing of his girlfriend, with his lawyers set to argue for leniency. The double-amputee track star last month escaped a murder conviction in a verdict that shocked the country and fuelled criticism of South Africa's legal system. AFP PHOTO/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius arrives at the High Court in Pretoria on October 13, 2014. Fallen paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius returns to court today at the start of his sentencing hearing after he was convicted of culpable homicide in the killing of his girlfriend, with his lawyers set to argue for leniency. The double-amputee track star last month escaped a murder conviction in a verdict that shocked the country and fuelled criticism of South Africa's legal system. AFP PHOTO/MUJAHID SAFODIEN (Photo credit should read MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius (R) talks to one of his defence lawyers at the High Court in Pretoria on October 13, 2014. Fallen paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius returns to court today at the start of his sentencing hearing after he was convicted of culpable homicide in the killing of his girlfriend, with his lawyers set to argue for leniency. The double-amputee track star last month escaped a murder conviction in a verdict that shocked the country and fuelled criticism of South Africa's legal system. AFP PHOTO/ POOL / MARCO LONGARI (Photo credit should read MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius arrives at the High Court in Pretoria on October 13, 2014. Fallen paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius returns to court today at the start of his sentencing hearing after he was convicted of culpable homicide in the killing of his girlfriend, with his lawyers set to argue for leniency. The double-amputee track star last month escaped a murder conviction in a verdict that shocked the country and fuelled criticism of South Africa's legal system. AFP PHOTO/ POOL / MARCO LONGARI (Photo credit should read MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) Oscar Pistorius eanters the North Gauteng High Court on September 12, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa ruled out murder charges yesterday, but convicted Oscar Pistorius in court today of culpable homicide, as the six month trial of the Olympic double-amputee sprinter comes to an end. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. Sentencing for Pistorius will be on October 13. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Oscar Pistorius outside the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius has been acquitted of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentines Day last year. Judge Masipa found him guilty of culpable homicide. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu//Gallo Image/Getty Images)
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius (C) leaves the High Court in Pretoria on September 12, 2014 after the verdict was handed down in his murder trial where he was found guilty of culpable homicide. Oscar Pistorius was on found guilty of culpable homicide on September 12 and faced a potential lengthy jail term for shooting dead his glamorous girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013, in a case that shattered the Paralympian hero's glittering career. Pistorius was acquitted of a more serious charge of murder, but South African Judge Thokozile Masipa said that he had acted 'negligently' in killing the blonde law graduate, named as one of the world's 100 sexiest women. AFP PHOTO / STEFAN HEUNIS (Photo credit should read STEFAN HEUNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Advocate Barry Roux speaks to the media outside the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius has been acquitted of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentines Day last year. Judge Masipa found him guilty of culpable homicide. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu//Gallo Image/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Henke Pistorius outside the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius has been acquitted of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentines Day last year. Judge Masipa found him guilty of culpable homicide. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu//Gallo Image/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 12: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on September 12, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius has been acquitted of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentines Day last year. Judge Masipa found him guilty of culpable homicide. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu//Gallo Image/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius sits in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa is due to give her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius comes to an end today. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo Kim Ludbrook/ - Pool/EPA/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius's father Henke Pistorius kisses the hand of his daughter Aimee Pistorius while part of the judgment is handed down in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa is due to give her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius comes to an end today. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo Phill Magakoe - Pool/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius's laywer Barry Roux sits in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa is due to give her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius comes to an end today. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo Phill Magakoe - Pool/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: Members of the public try to get a glimpse of Oscar Pistorius outside North Gauteng High Court on September 11, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to deliver her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, aged 27, comes to an end. Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, he denies the allegation claiming he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder inside their home on Valentines Day 2013. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: Members of the public try to get a glimpse of Oscar Pistorius outside North Gauteng High Court on September 11, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to deliver her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, aged 27, comes to an end. Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, he denies the allegation claiming he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder inside their home on Valentines Day 2013. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: Members of the public try to get a glimpse of Oscar Pistorius outside North Gauteng High Court on September 11, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to deliver her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, aged 27, comes to an end. Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, he denies the allegation claiming he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder inside their home on Valentines Day 2013. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: Aimee Pistorius, the sister of Oscar Pistorius, leaves North Gauteng High Court for a lunch break on September 11, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to deliver her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, aged 27, comes to an end. Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, he denies the allegation claiming he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder inside their home on Valentines Day 2013. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: Aimee Pistorius, the sister of Oscar Pistorius, leaves North Gauteng High Court for a lunch break on September 11, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to deliver her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, aged 27, comes to an end. Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, he denies the allegation claiming he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder inside their home on Valentines Day 2013. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: Lois Pistorius and Arnold Pistorius, the aunt and uncle of Oscar Pistorius, leave North Gauteng High Court during the lunch break as Judge Thokozile Masipa considers her verdict on September 11, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to deliver her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, aged 27, comes to an end. Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, he denies the allegation claiming he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder inside their home on Valentines Day 2013. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: Barry Roux, the lawyer of Oscar Pistorius leaves North Gauteng High Court during the break for lunch on September 11, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to deliver her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, aged 27, comes to an end. Pistorius is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, he denies the allegation claiming he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder inside their home on Valentines Day 2013. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius's family sit in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa is due to give her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius comes to an end today. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo Kim Ludbrook - Pool/EPA/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Reeva Steenkamp's mother June Steenkamp and uncle Michael Steenkamp sit in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa is due to give her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius comes to an end today. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo Kim Ludbrook - Pool/EPA/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius sits in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa is due to give her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius comes to an end today. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo Kim Ludbrook/ - Pool/EPA/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Reeva Steenkamp's parents, Barry and June Steenkamp at the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is his' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. Judge Masipa has began delivering her verdict. (Photo by Phill Magakoe/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE. PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: udge Thokozile Masipa reads her verdict in the murder trial of paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius at the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius, stands accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013. This is his' official trial, the result of which will determine the paralympian athlete's fate. Judge Masipa has began delivering her verdict. (Photo by Kim Ludbrook/EPA/Gallo Image/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Reeva Steenkamp's parents June and Barry Steenkamp sit in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa is due to give her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius comes to an end today. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo Kim Ludbrook - Pool/I/EPA/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius sits in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa is due to give her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius comes to an end today. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo Phill Magakoe - Pool/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius stands in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa is due to give her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius comes to an end today. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo Kim Ludbrook - Pool/I/EPA/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius sits in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa is due to give her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius comes to an end today. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo Kim Ludbrook - Pool/I/EPA/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius sits in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa is due to give her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius comes to an end today. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo Kim Ludbrook - Pool/I/EPA/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Judge Thokozile Masipa sits in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa is due to give her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius comes to an end today. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo Phill Magakoe - Pool/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius's brother Carl Pistorius sits in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa is due to give her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius comes to an end today. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo Phill Magakoe - Pool/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius sits in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa is due to give her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius comes to an end today. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo Phill Magakoe - Pool/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius sits in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa is due to give her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius comes to an end today. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo Phill Magakoe - Pool/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 11: (BY COURT ORDER, THIS IMAGE IS FREE TO USE) Oscar Pistorius sits in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. South African Judge Thokosile Masipa is due to give her verdict as the six month trial of Olympic double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius comes to an end today. His defence maintained that Mr Pistorius mistook Ms Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder in his home when he fired several shots into his bathroom allegedly in self-defence but killing his girlfriend. (Photo Phill Magakoe - Pool/Independent Newspapers/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
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Pistorius was jailed in July last year after being found guilty on appeal of murdering Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013 in a case that attracted worldwide interest.

He was not in court for Friday's ruling. The court handed down the minimum 15-year sentence prescribed for murder in South Africa, and subtracted the years Pistorius had already served.

Steenkamp's family, who were not in court for the ruling, welcomed the sentence and said it showed justice could prevail in South Africa.

"This is an emotional thing for them. They just feel that their trust in the justice system has been confirmed this morning," Tania Koen, a family spokeswoman, told Reuters.

Judge Willie Seriti, reading out the court's decision, said: "The sentence imposed ... in respect of murder is set aside and substituted with the following: the respondent is sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 13 years and five months."

The athlete was originally convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years in jail. That conviction was increased to murder by the Supreme Court in December 2015 and his sentence was increased to six years by trial judge Thokozile Masipa.

At the time, Masipa ruled that although the Steenkamps had suffered a great loss, Pistorius’ life and career were also in ruins, adding that "a fallen hero can never be at peace."

State prosecutors said they would appeal, arguing there had been no mitigating circumstances to give such a sentence.

At a hearing earlier this month at the appeals court, state prosecutors, led by advocate Andrea Johnson, said the athlete had shown no remorse for firing four shots through a locked bathroom door that hit Steenkamp.

Defense lawyer Barry Roux had told the court at the appeals hearing that Pistorius did not deliberately kill model and law graduate Steenkamp and the appeal should be thrown out.

The family of the athlete, who had the lower part of his legs amputated when he was a baby, were not immediately available to comment. (Reporting by James Macharia; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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