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Oscar Pistorius to be freed on parole


Oscar Pistorius to be freed on parole

  • By Daniel De Simone & Natasha Booty
  • BBC News, Atteridgeville prison & London

Image caption,

The athlete nicknamed ‘Blade Runner’ was jailed in 2016

Former Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius is to be freed from jail on parole, nearly 11 years after murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He shot Ms Steenkamp multiple times through a bathroom door on Valentine’s Day in 2013, later claiming he mistook her for a burglar.

Pistorius, now 37, was sentenced by a South African court in 2016 to serve 13 years in prison.

The parole board has set his release for 5 January 2024.

Once he is released, Pistorius will be monitored by the authorities until his sentence officially expires “just like all other parolees”, the Department of Correctional Services said on Friday.

He will also have to attend therapy sessions, according to the Steenkamp family’s spokesman.

In a letter sent to the parole board ahead of the ruling, Ms Steenkamp’s mother said did not oppose his release but wondered whether Pistorius’s “huge anger issues” were truly dealt with in prison, adding she would potentially be “concerned for the safety of any woman” who now comes into contact with him.

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

Her husband and Reeva’s father, Barry, died earlier this year and she said the strain on them both had been immense.

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

Both of Ms Steenkamp’s parents met Oscar Pistorius face-to-face last year as part of the rehabilitation process.

Mrs Steemkamp says that while she does not believe her daughter’s killer has shown remorse, she had nonetheless decided to forgive him “long ago, as I knew most certainly that I would not be able to survive if I had to cling to my anger.”

This was Pistorius’s second parole hearing in under a year.

His first parole bid was struck out in March because he had not completed the minimum detention period. That was later ruled a mistake by South Africa’s Constitutional Court, leading to Friday’s parole hearing.

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