Oscar Pistorius to be released on parole in South Africaon January 5, 2024 at 12:00 am

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The athlete, who ran on carbon-fibre prosthetics, murdered his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.

Oscar Pistorius leaves the North Gauteng High Court on June 14, 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa.Image source, Getty Images

Ex-Paralympian Oscar Pistorius is to be freed on parole from a South African jail, nearly 11 years after murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He shot her multiple times through a bathroom door in 2013, later saying he mistook her for a burglar.

Pistorius, now 37, was eventually convicted of murder in 2015 after an appeal court overturned an earlier verdict of culpable homicide.

He will live under strict conditions until his sentence expires in 2029.

Under South African law, all offenders are entitled to be considered for parole once they have served half their total sentence, which for Pistorius was finally set in 2017 at 13 years and five months.

He has been in prison since October 2014, when he was first convicted.

His lower legs were amputated when he was less than a year old. Pistorius subsequently relied on prosthetics and became a world-renowned athlete known as the “blade runner”.

He had a successful career on the track, first at the Paralympics, winning multiple golds, and then cementing his reputation after competing against non-disabled athletes at the London Olympics in 2012. The murder of Ms Steenkamp just six months later, and the subsequent trials, dominated headlines around the world.

South Africa’s department of correctional services said that despite his high public profile, the former star will be treated like anyone else on parole.

This means that he will be confined to his home for certain hours of the day and he is banned from drinking alcohol. He is also not permitted to speak to the media.

Reeva Steenkamp in Johannesburg, South Africa

Image source, Getty Images

Ms Steenkamp, who was 29 when she died, was a law graduate and successful model who also worked as a TV presenter and appeared in a reality show called Tropika Island of Treasure.

She had planned to start a law firm to help abused women after graduating.

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

She died almost instantly.

The state charged Pistorius with murder but he was convicted in 2014 of the lesser offence of culpable homicide, or manslaughter.

The following year, judges at the Supreme Court of Appeal changed his conviction to murder, saying that his version of events was inconsistent and improbable and that he had “fired without having a rational or genuine fear that his life was in danger”.

In a letter read out to the parole board in November, Ms Steenkamp’s mother, June Steenkamp, said she did not oppose his release but wondered whether Pistorius’s “huge anger issues” had been truly dealt with in prison.

She added that she would be “concerned for the safety of any woman” who now comes into contact with him.

Mrs Steenkamp said that while she did not believe her daughter’s killer had 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”.

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