(ATR) Oscar Pistorius is convicted of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after a South African appeals court overturned the manslaughter verdict.
Pistorius faces at least 15 years behind bars (Getty)
"The accused ought to have been found guilty of murder," Justice Eric Leach told the Bloemfontein court on Thursday.
"This case involves a human tragedy of Shakespearean proportions," he added. "A young man overcomes huge physical disabilities to reach Olympic heights as an athlete; in doing so he becomes an international celebrity.
"He meets a young woman of great natural beauty and a successful model; romance blossoms. Then, ironically on Valentine's Day, all is destroyed when he takes her life."
The Paralympic gold medalist will face a minimum term of 15 years in prison.
Currently under house arrest, Pistorius was not at the hearing but will appear in a Pretoria court again to be sentenced afresh. June Steenkamp, Reeva's mother, was in court as the judgement was handed down.
Prosecutors argued that Pistorius' conviction should upgraded for killing Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013. He shot her four times through a locked toilet door, claiming he thought she was an intruder.
South Africa's Court of Appeal decided that the legal rule of dolus eventualis, or direct intention - whether Pistorius knew he might kill somebody as a result of his actions - was incorrectly applied.
Justice Lorimer Leach said he had "no doubt" that in firing the fatal shots with his high-calibre weapon Pistorius must have foreseen that whoever was behind the toilet door might die.
Pistorius was released from prison in October. At the time, the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Supervision and Parole Board said the double amputee would serve the remainder of his five-year sentence under house arrest.
No date for Pistorius' sentencing hearing has been set and he is expected to remain under house arrest until then.
Written by Nicole Bennett
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