March 4, 2024

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Oscar Pistorius will be released on parole in South Africa after killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius will be released on parole in South Africa after killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
  • Written by Daniel DeSimone and Natasha Botti
  • BBC News, Atteridgeville Prison, London

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The athlete nicknamed “Blade Runner” was imprisoned in 2016

Former Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius will be released from prison on parole, nearly 11 years after he murdered his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He shot her several times through the bathroom door on Valentine’s Day in 2013, and later claimed he mistook her for a burglar at their home in Pretoria.

A South African court sentenced Pistorius, now 37, in 2016 to 13 years and five months in prison.

The parole board has scheduled his release on January 5, 2024.

The Department of Correctional Services said on Friday that once Pistorius is released, he will be monitored by authorities until his sentence officially ends “like all parolees.” If he wants to move house or get a job during that period, he will have to notify his parole officer.

Pistorius will also have to attend therapy sessions, according to a Steenkamp family spokesman.

In a letter read to the parole board during Friday’s hearing, Steenkamp’s mother said she did not oppose his release but questioned whether Pistorius’ “severe anger issues” had already been dealt with in prison. She added that she would be “concerned for the safety of any woman” who comes into contact with him now.

June Steenkamp chose not to attend her parole hearing at Atteridgeville Prison, near Pretoria, saying: “I simply cannot muster the energy to face him again at this stage.”

Her husband and Reva’s father, Barry, died earlier this year, and she said the pressure on them was enormous.

“My dear Barry left this world completely devastated by the thought that he had failed to protect his daughter… I have no doubt that he died of a broken heart,” Ms Steenkamp’s statement said.

Barry Steenkamp met Oscar Pistorius face to face last year as part of his rehabilitation process.

Ms. Stemkamp says that although she did not believe her daughter’s killer had shown remorse, she nevertheless decided to forgive him “a long time ago, because I knew for sure that I would not be able to survive if I had to cling to my anger.”

This was Pistorius’ second parole hearing in less than a year.

His first attempt at parole collapsed in March because he did not complete the minimum detention period. The South African Constitutional Court later ruled that this was wrong, leading to the new parole hearing.

Under South African law, all criminals are eligible to be considered for parole once they have served half their total sentence.

Image source, Getty Images

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Friends say Reeva Steenkamp was kind-hearted and ambitious

Reeva Steenkamp, ​​who was 29 when she died, was a law graduate and successful model who also worked as a TV presenter and appeared on a reality show called Treasure Island Tropica.

The two women met at university and were planning to start a law firm to help abused women after graduation.

“She wanted to save everyone, she wanted to protect everyone,” her friend recalled.

Steenkamp was three months into her relationship with Pistorius when he fired four shots from a handgun through the toilet cubicle door of his home in Pretoria in the early hours of 14 February 2013.

She died almost instantly.

He was found guilty of murder in 2015 at the Supreme Court of Appeal after initially being found guilty of the lesser offense of culpable homicide.

Pistorius’ lower legs were amputated when he was less than a year old. He later relied on prosthetics and became a world-famous athlete known as the “Blade Runner.”

He won several gold medals in the Paralympics. He also competed against non-disabled athletes at the 2012 London Olympics.

The murder of Reeva Steenkamp just six months later, and the subsequent trials, dominated headlines around the world.

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