Pistorius loses right to appeal over murder

The decision was made in court earlier today

Pistorius loses right to appeal over murder

File photo of Oscar Pistorius at the Magistrates Court in Pretoria, South Africa in 2013 | Image: Themba Hadebe / AP/Press Association Images

Oscar Pistorius has been denied the right to appeal his murder conviction for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The athlete will now be sentenced for murder after South Africa's highest court dismissed his last-ditch legal challenge.

Luvuyo Mfaku, a spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority, said: "The court dismissed the application for leave to appeal because there are are no prospects of success."

Pistorius' manslaughter conviction for shooting dead his girlfriend was upgraded to murder by an appeals court in December.

The judges said he should have known that death was inevitable after he fired four times into the toilet, leaving Ms Steenkamp with "nowhere to hide".

It ruled that the original trial judge had made a "fundamentally flawed" judgement.

They also accused the appeals court of "making errors of law" and incorrectly applying the legal concept of 'dolus eventualis' - awareness of the likely outcome of one's actions.

Paralympian Pistorius is now facing a minimum of 15 years in jail and is on bail until his sentencing in April.

The 'Blade Runner' was released in October 2015 after serving less than a year of his original five-year sentence.

He has maintained he fired out of fear for his life after believing an intruder was in his property on Valentine's Day 2013.

The prosecution said he shot dead Ms Steenkamp after an argument.

Ms Steenkamp's family have said the appeal proceedings were a "delaying tactic" to keep Pistorius out of jail.