Oscar Pistorius freed from prison 11 years after killing model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

 (AP)
(AP)
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Oscar Pistorius was released from prison in South Africa more than a decade after murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The former Paralympic runner, 39, was convicted of murder after shooting Steenkamp multiple times through a locked door on Valentine’s Day at their Pretoria home.

He has repeatedly said he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he fired four shots into the bathroom at his Pretoria home, and he launched multiple appeals against his conviction on that basis.

“The Department of Correctional Services (is) able to confirm that Oscar Pistorius is a parolee, effectively from 5 January 2024. He was admitted into the system of Community Corrections and is now at home,” the country’s prisons department said in a statement.

Pistorius, now 37, has spent about eight and a half years in jail as well as seven months under home arrest before he was sentenced for murder. A parole board in November decided he could be freed after completing more than half his sentence.

In a statement shared by the Steenkamp family lawyer on Friday, Reeva’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.”

“We, who remain behind, are the ones serving a life sentence,” June Steenkamp said, adding her only desire was to be allowed to live in peace after Pistorius‘ release on parole.

Correctional service emergency support team members look on at the entrance of the National head offices of the correctional services, where parolees are processed (Reuters)
Correctional service emergency support team members look on at the entrance of the National head offices of the correctional services, where parolees are processed (Reuters)

After his release, Pistorius will have to attend therapy for anger management and remain under close supervision. He will be unable to leave the area of Waterkloof, where he will be staying with his uncle, for five years.

He will also not be allowed to consume alcohol and will be banned from conducting media interviews.

Pistorius, who was born without fibulas and had both legs amputated below the knees before his first birthday, gained global fame in the early 2000s when he won Paralympic gold in the 200 metres at the Games in Athens.

South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, right, and Reeva Steenkamp in 2012 (AP)
South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, right, and Reeva Steenkamp in 2012 (AP)

A gun enthusiast, the athlete told the trial he had believed Steenkamp - a promising law graduate - was an intruder in their home when he shot her several times through the bathroom door. It was an account he repeated over the years.

He was initially jailed for five years in 2014 for culpable homicide but the sentence was changed to six years after the Supreme Court of Appeal in late 2015 found him guilty of the more serious charge of murder. His sentence was later increased again to 13 years after prosecutors argued the punishment was too lenient.

This is a breaking news story. More to follow.