The Olympic and Paralympic sprinter, who was convicted of culpable homicide last month for shooting 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013, was escorted by armed police into court, past a scum of reporters.

Dressed in a dark suit with a white shirt and black tie, the stony-faced 27-year-old stared straight ahead as he made his way through the melee. He made no comment to reporters before hugging his lawyer, Barry Roux, inside the courtroom.
               
Pistorius' uncle, Arnold, who has been the family patriarch throughout a 7-month trial that has made legal history as the first to be broadcast live throughout, struck a calm, assured tone.
               
"I never get nervous," he told reporters.
               
In her September 12 verdict, Judge Thokozile Masipa - only the second black woman to rise to South Africa's bench - cleared Pistorius of murder, saying the state had failed to prove his intent to kill when he fired four rounds through the door of a toilet cubicle.
               
Pistorius said he fired in the mistaken belief an intruder was lurking behind the door at his luxury Pretoria home, a defence that struck a chord with many in crime-ridden South Africa.
               
However, Masipa ruled the killing was legally negligent and convicted him for culpable homicide, South Africa's equivalent of manslaughter which can still carry up to 15 years behind bars.
               
State prosecutor Gerrie Nel said at the sentencing hearing last week that 10 years imprisonment was necessary to satisfy a public that could lose their faith in the justice system if Pistorius received a non-custodial sentence.
               
Outside the courthouse in the heart of the capital, members of the public mingled with reporters, some in support of Pistorius, others against him.
               
One man, Golden Miles Bhudu, stood on the pavement in orange prison clothes and wrapped in chains, holding signs questioning the notion of equality before the law and ridiculing Pistorius for his crying and retching during the trial.
               
"Why are certain offenders more equal than others before the law?" Bhudu's sign said. "He screams like a girl, he cries like a baby but he shoots like a soldier."
               
Defence lawyer Barry Roux argued the double-amputee sprinter should be given community service because his sorrow and regret at killing the woman he loved was the worst punishment of all.
               
He also said Pistorius, whose lower legs were amputated as a baby, would face particular difficulties in prison.
               
The sprinter, known as 'Blade Runner' because of the carbon-fibre prosthetics he made famous at the London 2012 Olympics, could also be given a suspended sentence or house arrest.

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