Oscar Pistorius denied leave to appeal

PRETORIA - South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been denied leave to appeal against his conviction for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The Constitutional Court has made the ruling, meaning Pistorius will now be sentenced in April.

Pistorius killed Ms Steenkamp in February 2013 after firing four times through a locked toilet door.

A manslaughter verdict was overturned in December and a murder verdict introduced in its place.

South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the Constitutional Court found "no prospect of success" in Pistorius' appeal.

The case will now go back to Judge Thokozile Masipa - who cleared the athlete of murder in the original case - for sentencing on 18 April.

Prosecutors are believed to be targeting a sentence of at least 15 years in jail for Pistorius.

This is the end of the road for Oscar Pistorius. The Constitutional Court was his last chance to overturn his murder conviction.

Many in the country felt that judge Thokozile Masipa had erred when she convicted him of a lesser charge, but some still believed Pistorius had not intended to kill anyone, let alone Reeva Steenkamp.

Now a full bench of the country's most powerful judges has ruled that Pistorius' latest bid has no chance of succeeding.

The next step now is for the two legal teams to present their arguments about the length of his sentence - and the state wants no less than 15 years.

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