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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Sian Hewitt

Who is Oscar Pistorius? Paralympian will remain in prison after being denied parole

Oscar Pistorius has been denied parole 10 years after he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He was jailed in 2014 for the murder of his girlfriend, and became automatically eligible for parole after serving half of his 13-year sentence.

Following a hearing on Friday, prison authorities said Pistorius was been denied parole because he has not served a “minimum detention period”.

But who is Oscar Pistorius and what are the details of his crime?

Who is Oscar Pistorius?

Oscar Pistorius, 36, is a former professional athlete from South Africa. He was born with a congenital defect, meaning he had to have both feet amputated as an infant.

He went on to compete in sprinting events, becoming a Paralympic champion, before competing in non-disabled sports events, like the Olympics.

Between 2010 and 2012, he appeared on a number of reality TV shows, including the Italian versions of Celebrity Survivor and Dancing with the Stars.

In 2013, he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, claiming to mistake her for an intruder.

What did Oscar Pistorius do?

The Paralympian was jailed after he was found guilty of the murder of Steenkamp. He shot her four times through his bathroom door in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013. At the trial Pistorius, now 36, claimed that he shot at his girlfriend with a pistol because he believed she was an intruder.

He was initially found guilty of culpable homicide — an offence comparable to manslaughter in the UK — but prosecutors appealed and he was then found guilty of her murder.

Pistorius was then sentenced to six years in jail for her murder, causing prosecutors to again appeal against what they called a “shockingly light punishment”.

South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal then more than doubled his sentence in 2017 to 13 years and five months’ imprisonment.

Is Oscar Pistorius still in jail?

At the moment, yes. Under South African law, prisoners are eligible to apply for parole as soon as they have served half their given term. Pistorius hit the threshold and launched his application, which was heard on March 31.

But he was denied parole because he has not served a “minimum detention period”, authorities in South Africa said following his hearing.

When will Oscar Pistorius be released?

A statement from South Africa’s Department of Correctional Services said Pistorius would be considered for parole again in August 2024 and would not be released now because “he did not complete the minimum Detention Period as ruled by the Supreme Court of Appeal.”

The parole system is the same as the UK, where a board of experts hear witness testimonies from the prisoner, as well as the victims, and hear from the prison about prisoners’ behaviour and whether they remain a danger to the public.

What do Reeva Steenkamp’s parents think of the parole hearing?

Reeva Steenkamp’s parents, June and Barry, in the court room at Pretoria high court (Phill Magakoe / AFP via Getty Images)

Reeva Steenkamp’s parents do not want her killer released and have said they believe he should spend the “rest of his life” behind bars. But the couple had no power to block the parole hearing, which took place on March 31.

Reeva’s mother, June Steenkamp, attended the hearing on Friday to deliver written and oral statements to the parole board which explained the effect Reeva’s murder has had on their lives.

In an interview with the MailOnline, the couple said they had previously forgiven Pistorius, but changed their mind when he refused to admit he meant to kill their daughter.

Reeva Steenkamp seen in Port Elizabeth, South Africa (Mike Holmes / The Herald/ Getty Images)

“Unless he comes clean, they don’t feel that he is rehabilitated,” the family’s lawyer, Tania Koen, told reporters outside the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre prison where the hearing took place.

While Barry Steenkamp said to the MailOnline: “I told Oscar directly that he had shot my daughter deliberately and he denied it. He stuck to his story that he thought it was an intruder. After all these years, we are still waiting for him to admit he did it in anger. That is all we wanted.

“If he told me the truth, he would have been a free man by now and I would have let the law take its course over his parole. But I was wasting my time. He is a murderer. He should remain in jail.”

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