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When Oscar Pistorius realised he had shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp‚ he was "beside himself"‚ the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has heard.

"His actions were directed against the intruder. When he realised he had shot Reeva‚ he was beside himself‚" his counsel advocate Barry Roux said on Friday.

Roux was arguing on Pistorius’s behalf against the National Prosecuting Authority’s application to have his sentence increased from the six years he is currently serving for the murder of Steenkamp.

"His whole concern was about the deceased and her family. He tried to make contact before and during the trial. After the trial‚ he tried to make contact‚" Roux argued.

He told the court that Pistorius had not intended to kill Steenkamp.

"The whole case and the focus in the mind of the respondent was that ‘you‚ Mr Pistorius‚ intended to kill your girlfriend’. That was never out of his mind."

Pistorius was originally convicted of culpable homicide -- the equivalent of manslaughter -- but the appeal court upgraded his conviction to murder in 2015.

The minimum sentence for murder in South Africa is 15 years, but he was sentenced in 2016 to six years due to mitigating factors, including his claim he believed he was shooting an intruder.

"We believe the sentence is shockingly low," NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku told AFP. "It is inappropriate if you look at the gravity of the offence."

Mfaku denied that the NPA was pursuing Pistorius due to his fame, saying "it is not personal, we are addressing a principle here".

Asked why Pistorius had fired four shots through the bathroom where Steenkamp was‚ Roux said: "I can’t stand here and justify the full shots‚ but I can explain his state of mind. We know that he has a serious disability. He was not on his prosthetic legs. We know the disability is pervasive. We know he has a massive fear for crime and that he was without his legs. He was vulnerable and he has an anxiety disorder."

Pressed on why Pistorius did not testify in the trial court‚ Roux said his client suffered from "severe" post traumatic stress.

Roux told the SCA that trial Judge Thokozile Masipa had taken all factors into account when she sentenced Pistorius.

"I believe she did very well … She exercised her discretion judicially and for this reason the application should be dismissed‚" Roux argued.

The SCA has reserved its judgment.

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