New Delhi: Oscar Pistorius, the Paralympian who shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013, has been released on parole from a South African prison, officials confirmed on Friday. Pistorius, 37, served half of his more than 13-year sentence for murder and will now live under strict conditions until his sentence ends in 2029. He claimed he mistook Ms Steenkamp for an intruder when he fired four bullets through a door at his home in Pretoria.
Ms Steenkamp’s mother, June, said she accepted the parole decision, but added that her family was the one “serving a life sentence”. She said there was no justice for her daughter, who was a law graduate, model and TV presenter.
Pistorius, who had his lower legs amputated as a baby, became a global sensation as the “blade runner”, competing at both the Paralympics and the Olympics in London in 2012. His fall from grace and his trials captivated the world’s media.
Pistorius will have to follow strict rules while on parole, such as staying at home for certain hours, not drinking alcohol and not talking to the press. He will also have to undergo therapy to address issues of gender-based violence and anger.
He is expected to stay at the house of his uncle Arnold Pistorius in a wealthy suburb of Pretoria. While in jail, Pistorius worked as a tractor driver, a librarian and a cell cleaner, according to legal documents quoted by South African journalist Karyn Maughan. She told the BBC that social workers and psychologists also wrote positive reports about him.
June Steenkamp said in a statement that she respected the parole system and the conditions imposed by the parole board, which “affirmed Barry and my belief in the South African justice system”. She was referring to her late husband, who died in 2018.
But she added: “Has there been justice for Reeva? Has Oscar served enough time? There can never be justice if your loved one is never coming back, and no amount of time served will bring Reeva back. We, who remain behind, are the ones serving a life sentence.”
She said her only wish was to live her last years in peace and to focus on the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation, which aims to continue Reeva’s legacy.
Pistorius was first jailed in October 2014, after his initial conviction of culpable homicide. He was released on house arrest in 2015, but his conviction was overturned by an appeal court and changed to murder. His sentence was also increased to 13 years and five months.
South Africa’s department of correctional services said that Pistorius would be treated like any other parolee, despite his fame.
Ms Steenkamp, who was 29 when she died, had a promising career as a lawyer, model and TV personality. She appeared in a reality show called Tropika Island of Treasure and had plans to start a law firm to help abused women.
She was in a relationship with Pistorius for three months when he killed her in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013. She died almost instantly.