The disgraced South African athlete has served more than half of his sentence for murdering former girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
Oscar Pistorius, the former Olympic athlete known as ‘Blade Runner’ for using his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs in competitions, has been released on parole from a South African prison, 11 years after he shot dead his former girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius is “now at home,” authorities said on Friday, having served more than half of his 13-year sentence. In 2013, the then-27-year-old shot Steenkamp, who was 29, through a bathroom door in their home on Valentine’s Day in 2013. The double-amputee then claimed that he had mistaken his former partner for a burglar.
He was convicted of murder in 2015 after an appeals court dismissed a prior verdict of culpable homicide. He was handed a 13-year sentence in 2017 following a trial and several appeals. The killing of Steenkamp came a year after Pistorius made history when he competed against able-bodied athletes at the 2012 London Olympics.
South Africa’s Department of Corrections confirmed the release of Pistorius, who is now 37, early on Friday morning, suggesting that he’d already left the Atteridgeville prison in Pretoria. The Department of Corrections gave no further details, citing “security” logistics.
Pistorius is prohibited from speaking to the media as a condition of his parole, reports said. He is also banned from drinking alcohol and must undergo therapy, for anger and gender-related violence issues, until his sentence expires in 2029.
Under South African law, serious offenders are eligible for parole after serving at least half of their sentence. He was approved for release in November after losing an initial bid for release last March, when a parole board determined that he had not yet served the minimum detention period.
In a statement issued by her lawyer on Friday, Steenkamp’s mother, June, said: “There can never be justice if your loved one is never coming back, and no amount of time served will bring Reeva back.”
The statement added: “We, who remain behind, are the ones serving a life sentence.”
Pistorius, formerly one of South Africa’s most celebrated athletes, will live at the home of his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, in a wealthy suburb of Pretoria, according to local media reports. While incarcerated, he drove a tractor on prison grounds, worked in its library and helped clean other inmates’ cells, according to legal documents.
Pistorius’ lower legs were amputated when he was less than a year old. His subsequent use of carbon-fiber prosthetics in athletic events earned him the nickname ‘Blade Runner.’
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