Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius to be freed in January after parole approved

24 November 2023, 13:04

Oscar Pistorius
South Africa Pistorius Parole Hearing. Picture: PA

The 37-year-old has been in jail since 2014 after being convicted of murdering his girlfriend.

Double-amputee Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius has been granted parole 10 years after shooting his girlfriend through a toilet door at his home in South Africa in a killing that jolted the world.

Department of Corrections spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said Pistorius would be released from prison on January 5.

His parole will come with conditions, including that he not leave the area of Pretoria where he is set to live without permission from authorities.

Pistorius will also attend a programme to deal with his anger issues, Mr Nxumalo said, and will have to perform community service.

The parole conditions will be in place for five years, the Department of Corrections said.

“Parole does not mean the end of the sentence. It is still part of the sentence. It only means the inmate will complete the sentence outside a correctional facility,” Mr Nxumalo said.

Pistorius, who turned 37 this week, has been in jail since late 2014 for the Valentine’s Day 2013 killing of model Reeva Steenkamp in Pretoria, although he was released for a period of house arrest in 2015 while one of the numerous appeals in his case was heard.

He was ultimately convicted of murder and sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison.

Serious offenders in South Africa must serve at least half of their sentence to be eligible for parole, which Pistorius has done.

Pistorius was at the height of his fame and one of the world’s most admired athletes when he killed Ms Steenkamp.

He shot her multiple times in the bathroom of his villa in the early hours with his licensed 9mm pistol.

Pistorius testified at his murder trial that he killed Ms Steenkamp by mistake, thinking she was a dangerous intruder hiding in his bathroom in the middle of the night when he fired four times through the door with his licensed 9mm pistol.

Prosecutors argued that Ms Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and reality TV star, had fled to the toilet cubicle during a late-night argument and Pistorius killed her in a rage.

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp
Oscar Pistorius was convicted of murdering Reeva Steenkamp (left) (Citypress,Lucky Nxumalo, via AP/PA)

Pistorius was eventually convicted of murder on a legal principle known as dolus eventualis, which means he acted with extreme recklessness and should have known that whoever was behind the door would likely be killed.

Rob Matthews, a South African man whose 21-year-old daughter was murdered in 2004 and who became a Steenkamp family friend, read out a statement from Ms Steenkamp’s mother June Steenkamp outside the prison in which she said she was not opposing his parole and did not attend the hearing because “I simply cannot muster the energy to face him again at this stage”.

“I do not believe Oscar’s version that he thought the person in the toilet was a burglar,” June Steenkamp said in the statement.

“In fact, I do not know anybody who does. My dearest child screamed for her life. … I believe he knew it was Reeva.”

Pistorius was initially sent to Pretoria’s central prison, a notorious apartheid-era jail. He was moved to the city’s Atteridgeville Correctional Centre in 2016.

There have been only occasional glimpses of Pistorius’ life behind bars over the past decade.

His father has said he has been holding bible classes for fellow prisoners, although there have also been flashes of trouble, including an altercation Pistorius had with another inmate over a prison telephone that left him requiring medical treatment.

By Press Association

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