Oscar Pistorius granted parole after girlfriend’s murder
South African Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius was granted early release from prison on parole on Friday, a decade after he killed his girlfriend, in a crime that gripped the world, prison authorities said.
“The Department of Correctional Services (DCS confirms parole placement for Mr Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius, effectively from 5 January 2024,” a DCS spokesman said.
It has been decade since Reeva Steenkamp, a model, was killed. Steenkamp’s mother had said she did not oppose parole, but in a statement to the board assessing whether Pistorius should be released, June Steenkamp said he had not shown true remorse.
Read:Pistorius lawyer eyes ‘immediate release’ if parole granted
“Rehabilitation requires someone to engage honestly, with the full truth of his crime and the consequences thereof. Nobody can claim to have remorse if they’re not able to engage fully with the truth,” she said.
Pistorius, 37, appeared before a parole board at a correctional centre outside Pretoria where he is currently detained.
It was Pistorius’ second shot at parole in less than eight months.
He lost a first bid in March when the board found Pistorius had not completed the minimum detention period required to be let out.
The Constitutional Court last month ruled that was a mistake, paving the way for a new hearing.
Pistorius killed Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013, firing four times through the bathroom door of his ultra-secure Pretoria house.
Known worldwide as the “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fibre prosthetics, he was found guilty of murder and given a 13-year jail sentence in 2017 after a lengthy trial and several appeals.
Read (from the Archives:Oscar Pistorius jail term increased to 13 years
He had pleaded not guilty and denied killing Steenkamp in a rage, saying he mistook her for a burglar.
But June Steenkamp said she does not believe him.
“I do not believe Oscar’s version,” she said in her submission to the board that was read to the media outside the detention centre by a family spokesman.
“My dear child screamed for her life loud enough for the neighbors to hear her.”
Nevertheless, she said she forgave the former sprinter “long ago, as I knew most certainly that I would not be able to survive if I had to cling to my anger.”
As part of his rehabilitation, Pistorius met Steenkamp’s parents last year, in a process authorities said aims to ensure inmates “acknowledge the harm they have caused.”
June Steenkamp was not present at the parole hearing on Friday and was being represented by a family spokesman and a lawyer. Steenkamp’s father Barry died in September aged 80.
“I’ve no doubt that he died of a broken heart,” the widow said in her statement.
Read (from the Archives:Anger greets Pistorius and Steenkamp film
Offenders in South Africa are automatically eligible for parole consideration after serving half of their sentence.
Lawyers for Pistorius have said they hope that the delay caused by the mistake made in calculating the minimum detention period earlier this year will be taken into account and the ex-athlete be granted “an immediate release” on Friday.
Normally, it can take weeks before a prisoner who is granted parole is effectively discharged.
Release usually comes with some conditions, such as monitoring from authorities and duty to report to a community correction centre.