South African state prosecutors have failed in their bid to challenge the six-year sentence for murder handed down to Oscar Pistorius.

Prosecutors described the Paralympic athlete’s punishment for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013 as “shockingly lenient”.

At the hearing in Pretoria, Judge Thokozile Masipa said the petition had no reasonable prospect of success.

The state now has 21 days to take its case to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

More on this and other African stories

Has Pistorius got off lightly?

Pistorius, 29, was given a five-year term for manslaughter in 2014, but was found guilty of murder last December after a prosecution appeal.

He shot Ms Steenkamp through a locked toilet door and said in his his defence that he mistook her for an intruder.

The judge said at the sentencing that she had deviated from the minimum 15-year sentence because of “compelling personal circumstances”.

She said mitigating circumstances, such as rehabilitation and remorse, had outweighed aggravating factors, such as his failure to fire a warning shot.

Rise and fall of Oscar Pistorius

Pistorius becomes the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics
August 2012: Competes in London Olympics and Paralympics, where he won a gold medal
February 2013: Shoots dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
March 2014: Trial begins
September 2014: Judge finds Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide
October 2014: Begins five-year sentence
October 2015: Transferred to house arrest
December 2015: Appeal court changes verdict to murder
July 2016: Sentenced to six years in jail for murder

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