Oscar Pistorius released on parole after 2013 shooting of girlfriend

The former athlete served nearly nine years of his 13 years and five months murder sentence for killing Reeva Steenkamp.

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been released from prison on parole, more than a decade after he shot his girlfriend in a Valentine’s Day killing that shattered the reputation of a sports superstar.

The Department of Corrections gave no more details of Pistorius’ release on Friday.

The announcement came at about 8.30am local time, indicating corrections officials had released the world-famous double-amputee Olympic runner from the Atteridgeville correctional centre in the capital Pretoria in the early hours.

Pistorius has served nearly nine years of his 13 years and five months murder sentence for killing Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. He was approved for parole in November.

Serious offenders in South Africa are eligible for parole after serving at least half their sentence.

TV crews, photographers and news reporters had gathered outside the gates of the correctional centre in before 6am, waiting to catch a glimpse of Pistorius, 37.

He is expected to initially live at his uncle’s mansion in the upscale Pretoria suburb of Waterkloof, where he lived during his murder trial and where he was held on house arrest for a period in 2015-2016.

Bright yellow traffic barriers have been placed across a road leading to his uncle’s house, possibly in preparation for Pistorius’ arrival.

Steenkamp’s mother, June Steenkamp, said in a statement that she had accepted Pistorius’ parole as part of South African law.

She said: “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.

“With the release of Oscar Pistorius on parole, my only desire is that I will be allowed to live my last years in peace with my focus remaining on the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation, to continue Reeva’s legacy.”

Pistorius will live under strict conditions until the remainder of his sentence expires in December 2029, the Department of Corrections said.

It emphasised that the multiple Paralympic champion’s release — like every other offender on parole — does not mean that he has served his time.

Some of Pistorius’ parole conditions include restrictions on when he is allowed to leave his home, a ban on consuming alcohol and orders that he must attend programmes on anger management and on violence against women. He will have to perform community service.

Pistorius will also have to regularly meet with parole officials at his home and at correctional services offices, and will be subjected to unannounced visits by authorities.

He is not allowed to leave the Waterkloof district without permission and is banned from speaking to the media until the end of his sentence.

He could be sent back to jail if he is in breach of any of his parole conditions.

South Africa does not use tags or bracelets on paroled offenders so Pistorius will not wear any monitoring device, Department of Corrections officials said.

He will be constantly monitored by a department official and will have to inform the official of any major changes in his life, such as if he wants to get a job or move to another house.

Pistorius has maintained that he shot Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, by mistake.

He testified that he believed Steenkamp was a dangerous intruder hiding in his bathroom and shot through the door with his licensed 9mm pistol in self-defence.

Prosecutors said he killed his girlfriend intentionally during a late-night argument.

Before the killing, Pistorius was held up as an inspiring role model after having had both of his legs amputated below the knee as a baby because of a congenital condition.

He became a champion sprinter on his carbon-fibre running blades and made history by competing at the 2012 London Olympics.

His murder trial destroyed his image as he was accused of being prone to angry outbursts and acting recklessly with guns while witnesses testified about various altercations he had with others, including an argument in which he allegedly threatened to break a man’s legs.

Pistorius was first convicted of culpable homicide — a charge comparable to manslaughter — and sentenced to five years in prison for killing Steenkamp.

After appeals by prosecutors, he was ultimately found guilty of murder and had his sentence increased, although that judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal still did not definitively rule that he knew it was Steenkamp behind the toilet door.

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