Judge Masipa in court in Pretoria
Oscar Pistorius has been released on bail after being convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The South African athlete was flanked by guards as he left court in Pretoria and was hurried into a nearby car amid chaotic scenes of screaming supporters and a media scrum.
Judge Thokozile Masipa said the double amputee had acted negligently when he fired four shots into a locked toilet door, killing the 29-year-old model who was behind it.
But she decided to extend his bail and he will return to court for sentencing on October 13. He is expected to stay with relatives in the meantime.Pistorius, 27, showed little emotion as the guilty verdict of culpable homicide, which is South Africa’s equivalent of the UK’s manslaughter charge, was handed down in North Gauteng High Court.
The punishment for culpable homicide ranges from a suspended sentence to a maximum jail term of 15 years.
The Paralympian and Olympian, dubbed Blade Runner due to his prosthetic limbs, had always admitted he shot Ms Steenkamp at his luxury Pretoria home but said he mistook her for an intruder.
Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards 2013 Victim Reeva Steenkamp was kiled on Valentine’s Day last year
Judge Masipa criticised Pistorius’ decision to reach for his gun and shoot rather than raise the alarm or fire a warning shot.
She has also accused him of being a poor witness, muddled over his defence and a liar.
The judge told him: “A reasonable person, therefore, in the position of the accused with similar disabilities would have foreseen that the possibility that whoever was behind the door might be killed by the shots.
“And would have taken steps to avoid the consequences and the accused in this matter failed to take those consequences.”
Ms Steenkamp’s father Barry leaned forward in his seat when the verdict was read out. Her mother, June, showed no reaction.
On Thursday, the athlete broke down in the courtroom as he was cleared of two, more serious, murder charges over the shooting.
The judge said he did not intend to kill anyone and could not have seen that the intruder he thought was hiding in his toilet was actually Ms Steenkamp.
The prosecution had argued Pistorius was deliberately trying to kill his girlfriend after a row, but the judge ruled they had failed to prove the allegations.
She told the courtroom: “Having regard to the totality of this evidence in this matter, the unanimous decision of this court is the following: on count one, murder… the accused found not guilty and is discharged.
“Instead he is found guilty of culpable homicide.”
Later, Ms Steenkamp’s parents later attacked the judge’s decision to acquit Pistorius of murder.
“This verdict is not justice for Reeva,” June Steenkamp told NBC News. “I just want the truth.”
She said Reeva died a “horrible, painful, terrible”. “He shot through the door and I can’t believe that they believe it was an accident.”
The judge had begun the day’s events by dealing with the three firearms charges which were unrelated to last year’s Valentine’s Day shooting.
Pistorius was found guilty of discharging a firearm at a Johannesburg restaurant on January 11, 2013.
But he was acquitted of firing a gun through a car sunroof while with his then-girlfriend Samantha Taylor and friend Darren Fresco on November 30, 2012.
He was also cleared of illegally possessing ammunition. Pistorius denied all the charges.