Oscar Pistorius, the former Paralympic champion who shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013, will be freed from prison on parole in 2024, nearly 11 years after the murder.
The South African athlete, who is now 37 years old, was convicted of murder in 2016 and sentenced to 13 years and five months in jail. He claimed that he fired multiple shots through a bathroom door in his home, thinking that there was an intruder inside.
Oscar Pistorius to attend Therapy sessions
The parole board has decided to release Oscar Pistorius on 5 January 2024, after he has served the minimum required period of his sentence. The Department of Correctional Services said on Friday that Pistorius will be monitored by the authorities until his sentence officially expires “just like all other parolees”. He will also have to attend therapy sessions, according to the spokesman of the Steenkamp family.
Before the parole board made its ruling, June Steenkamp, the mother of Reeva, wrote a letter expressing her views on Oscar Pistorius’s release. She said that she did not oppose his release but wondered whether Pistorius’s “huge anger issues” were truly dealt with in prison. She also said that she would potentially be “concerned for the safety of any woman” who now comes into contact with him.
June Steenkamp did not attend the parole hearing on Friday at Atteridgeville prison, near Pretoria, saying: “I simply cannot muster the energy to face him again at this stage”.
She also said that the strain of the murder and the trial had been immense on her and her husband Barry, who died earlier this year. She said that Barry was “utterly devastated” by the thought that he had failed to protect his daughter and that he died of a “broken heart”. Barry Steenkamp had met Oscar Pistorius face-to-face last year as part of the rehabilitation process.
June Steenkamp also said that while she did not believe that Pistorius had shown remorse for killing her daughter, she had 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.”
This was the second parole hearing for Oscar Pistorius in less than a year. His first parole bid was rejected in March because he had not completed the minimum detention period. However, this was later ruled a mistake by South Africa’s Constitutional Court, leading to Friday’s parole hearing.