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Oscar Pistorius PA
Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius released from prison on parole 11 years after murdering girlfriend

Pistorius killed Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013, firing four times through the bathroom door of his house.

SOUTH AFRICA’S EX-OLYMPIC runner Oscar Pistorius has been released from prison on parole, almost 11 years after he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in a crime that gripped the world.

Pistorius is “now at home” after his release from jail, authorities said, but the 37 year old is not permitted to speak to media as a condition of his parole.

Steenkamp’s mother June said in a statement she is the one “serving a life sentence” in her grief for her daughter who died aged 29.

Pistorius, known worldwide as “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fibre prosthetics, will not be allowed to speak to the media as a condition of his parole.

He killed Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013, firing four times through the bathroom door of his ultra-secure Pretoria house.

file-pics-port-elizabeth-south-africa-reeva-steenkamp-in-johannesburg-south-africa-photo-by-gallo-images-herald-mike-holmesalamy-live-news Reeva Steenkamp in Johannesburg, South Africa Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

The shooting came a year after Pistorius made history by being the first double-amputee to race at Olympic level when he appeared at the London 2012 games.

He was found guilty of murder and given a 13-year jail sentence in 2017 after a lengthy trial and several appeals.

Having served more than half his sentence, the double-amputee left the Atteridgeville prison on the outskirts of the capital Pretoria.

The time and logistical details were not been disclosed by authorities, citing “security” reasons.

embedded139370 Oscar Pistorius at the height of his career competing for South Africa. David Davies / PA David Davies / PA / PA

He had pleaded not guilty and denied killing Steenkamp in a rage, saying he mistook her for a burglar.

Steenkamp’s mother has said she did not believe he had told the truth about what happened.

“My dear child screamed for her life loud enough for the neighbours to hear her. I do not know what gave rise to his choice to shoot through a closed door,” June Steenkamp had said in her submission to the parole board.

Offenders in South Africa are automatically eligible for parole consideration after serving half of their sentence.

Pistorius lost a first bid in March when the board found he had not completed the minimum detention period required to be let out.

file-this-nov-4-2012-photo-shows-oscar-pistorius-and-girlfriend-reeva-steenkamp-at-an-awards-ceremony-in-johannesburg-south-africa-pistorius-goes-on-trial-monday-march-3-for-the-shooting-death-of Oscar Pistorius and girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

The Constitutional Court in October ruled that was a mistake, paving the way for a November hearing that approved his release.

Prison authorities had earlier warned the press that there will be no opportunity to photograph him.

As part of his parole, until the end of his sentence in 2029, Pistorius must undergo therapy for anger and gender-based violence issues.

He will also be banned from consuming alcohol and other substances, required to complete community service and also be home at certain hours of the day.

While June Steenkamp did not oppose parole for Pistorius and was “satisfied” with the terms, she was not convinced he was fully rehabilitated, a family spokesman has said.

“Nobody can claim to have remorse if they’re not able to engage fully with the truth,” she said in a statement.

From Olympic hero to disgraced killer

At the 2012 London Olympics, before 80,000 roaring fans and a constellation of camera flashes, it took Oscar Pistorius 45.44 seconds to become a global icon.

The South African’s 400-metre sprint was the first time in history that a double-amputee had raced at the Olympic Games.

It capped an Olympian triumph over adversity for Pistorius.

Born in 1986 in Johannesburg without fibulas, leaving him without calf bones, his parents decided when he was 11 months old to have his legs amputated below the knee so he could be fitted with prosthetic legs.

This allowed him to play sports and he excelled, concentrating on running only after fracturing a knee playing rugby.

But in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013, at his upmarket Pretoria home, he shot and killed his 29-year-old model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

During his 2014 trial in a windowless courtroom, sponsors dumped him and he was forced to sell his homes to cover mounting legal bills.

front-pages-eport-shooting-of-model-and-anti-domestic-violence-advocate-reeva-steenkamp Front pages reporting the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

The high-profile murder trial that gripped the world exposed the now 37-year-old’s darker side, offering glimpses of a dangerously volatile man with a penchant for guns, beautiful women and fast cars.

In 2009, he had spent a night in jail after allegedly assaulting a 19-year-old woman at a party in a case that was settled out of court.

He was accused of firing a gun through the sunroof of an ex-girlfriend’s moving car.

Weeks before he shot Steenkamp, he discharged a gun by accident at a Johannesburg restaurant.

The sprinter slept with a pistol under his bed at his home in a high-security estate for fear of burglars.

In 2012, he made history by becoming the first double-amputee to compete at both the Olympics and Paralympics.

“He is the definition of global inspiration,” TIME magazine proclaimed in its 2012 list of the world’s most influential people.

Less than a year later, Pistorius featured on the cover with the words “Man, Superman, Gunman”.

© AFP 2024

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