Oscar Pistorius has sentence for murdering girlfriend more than doubled to over 13 years

Oscar Pistorius' prison sentence was increased to 13 years and five months by South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal tonight, a decision that more than doubled the Olympic runner's jail term for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

In an announcement that took a matter of minutes, Supreme Court Justice Willie Seriti said the Supreme Court upheld an appeal by prosecutors against Pistorius' original six-year sentence for shooting Steenkamp multiple times in his home in 2013.

South African prosecutors say the six year jail sentence for murder has resulted in an injustice. Source: 1 NEWS

Prosecutors had called that six-year sentence "shockingly" lenient.

Pistorius should have been sentenced to the prescribed minimum of 15 years for murder in South Africa, Seriti said, as he delivered the verdict that was reached by a panel of five judges at the Supreme Court in the central city of Bloemfontein.

The new sentence of 13 years and five months took into account time Pistorius had already served in prison and at home under house arrest, Seriti said.

Pistorius, who turned 31 on Wednesday, has served over a year of his initial six-year sentence.

Pistorius killed Steenkamp in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day 2013 after shooting four times through a closed toilet cubicle door in his home.

Claiming he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder, he was initially convicted of manslaughter. 

That conviction was overturned and replaced with a murder conviction by the Supreme Court in 2015.

Tonight's decision likely brings an end to a near five-year legal saga surrounding the double-amputee athlete, a multiple Paralympic champion and record-breaker who was once one of the most celebrated sportsmen in the world.

Pistorius' lawyers have just one avenue open to them if they want to challenge the new sentence handed down by the Supreme Court, and that is to appeal to the Constitutional Court, the highest court in South Africa.

Pistorius failed with an appeal to the Constitutional Court last year to challenge his murder conviction.


'This is a terrible tragedy' - Cook Islands police speak of heroic efforts to save state senator and brother-in-law who drowned in kayak accident

A quick-thinking police officer mobilised a team of volunteers and borrowed a tour company boat to try and rescue a US state senator and his brother-in-law who capsized while kayaking in Rarotonga yesterday. 

Republican state senator from South Dakota Craig Tieszen, 68 drowned while trying to save his brother-in-law Brent Moline, 61, who also died outside the reef in Avana Harbour. 

Police spokesperson Trevor Pitt said authorities received a call from a tourist resort in Muri Beach asking for help after two of their guests "had gone over the reef kayaking and had capsized."

Prior to police organising a search and rescue team, an officer who was on the beach gathered a team of volunteers together to help the men. 

South Dakota Senator Craig Tieszen
South Dakota Senator Craig Tieszen Source: sdlegislature.gov

They took an outboard motorboat out from the beach area that belonged to one of the lagoon tour companies who made it available for the search.

"One of the men that had gone into the sea was retrieved from the reef area and was brought back to the beach and while they were bringing him back to the beach area they were trying to revive him," Mr Pitt told 1 NEWS.

Police then quickly came to the rescue and located the other man. 

"Unfortunately this is a terrible tragedy that has happened," he said. 

"They had come here to be a part of a family celebration.

"The family are now having to deal with the terrible loss of two party members." 

Republican state senator Craig Tieszen died while trying to save his brother-in-law who fell into the ocean from his kayak. Source: 1 NEWS


Papua New Guinea officials remove last refugees from Manus Island detention centre

Papua New Guinea authorities say they have relocated the last asylum seekers who had refused for three weeks to leave the closed Manus Island immigration camp for fear they would face violence in the alternative accommodations.

Police Chief Superintendent Dominic Kakas said today police and immigration officials removed all 378 men from the male-only camp on Manus Island over two days and took them by bus to residences in the nearby town of Lorengau.

"Everybody's gone. Everybody got on the buses, they packed their bags and they moved over," Mr Kakas said.

Refugee advocates say officials used force and destroyed asylum seekers' belongings to make them leave Manus.

Water, power and food supplies ended when the Manus camp ended officially closed on Oct. 31, based on the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court's ruling last year that Australia's policy of housing asylum seekers there was unconstitutional.

But asylum seekers fear for their safety in Lorengau because of threats from local residents.

Australia pays Papua New Guinea, its nearest neighbour, and the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru to hold thousands of asylum seekers from Africa, the Middle East and Asia who have attempted to reach Australian shores by boat since mid-2013.

Before confirmation that Manus Island had been emptied, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull welcomed news that asylum seekers were leaving.

"I'm please to say in terms of Manus, that the reports we have are that busloads of the people at Manus are leaving, they're complying with the lawful directions of the PNG authorities and moving to the alternative facilities available to them and that's as they should," Mr Turnbull told reporters.

A PNG police operation has begun to remove the remaining asylum seekers from the mothballed Manus Island detention centre. Source: 1 NEWS

"That is precisely what you should do, if you're in a foreign country. You should comply with the laws of that other country," he added.

Shen Narayanasamy, activist group GetUp's rights campaigner said in a statement: "I awoke this morning to frantic phone calls from refugees on Manus screaming: 'Help, help, they are killing us.' It is astounding that refugees being beaten and dragged out to buses has the support of the Australian government."

Police maintain no force was used.

It comes nearly three weeks after the centre was officially closed. Source: Breakfast