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Oscar Pistorius To Be Release From Prison 10 Years After Killing Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius is set to be released from prison, having spent almost ten years incarcerated for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. His release follows a successful case presented during a parole board hearing.

The former Paralympic champion shot and killed his partner in 2013, and was jailed for 13 years for her murder in 2016.

But on 24 November, he was granted parole and will be released on January 5, South Africa’s Department of Corrections said.

He will be given therapy for anger management and remain under supervision without being able to leave the area of Waterkloof, where he will be staying with family, for five years.

Department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said: “Parole does not mean the end of the sentence. It is still part of the sentence. It only means the inmate will complete the sentence outside a correctional facility.”

He added: “The conditions, what’s important about them, is that they are there to assist an inmate to adjust, and also to address if there are still other areas that require attention.”

Other conditions attached to the release state when Pistorius has to be at home and when he can work. They will also stop him from consuming alcohol and drugs, Mr Nxumalo said.

Rob Matthews, spokesperson for Ms Steenkamp’s mother June, addressed the media after the decision. He said: “The parole board is of the opinion that he met the criteria for release on parole and I believe June will be fine with that, but I can’t read inside her mind, I can only interpret what she said.”

“My personal opinion is that part of the road to rehabilitation is acknowledging what you have done and being accountable for what you have done and being man enough to say ‘I’ve done it’, and all the consequences that go with it, not just lip service because it’s easy to say sorry when you’ve been caught.”

The parole board hearing was the 37-year-old’s second bid for freedom after a hearing in March wrongly ruled him ineligible for early release due to an error over when his prison sentence officially started.

Serious offenders in South Africa must serve at least half their sentence to be eligible for parole, which Pistorius has done.

After a highly publicised trial, he was convicted of culpable homicide — a charge comparable to manslaughter — for killing his girlfriend in 2014, before that conviction was overturned.

However, he was convicted of murder after an appeal by prosecutors and jailed for six years in 2016, before, the following year, that sentence was extended to 13 years and five months.

Pistorius’ bid for freedom will have been helped by a decision by Steenkamp’s mother, June Steenkamp, not to oppose parole. She also said in a victim impact statement to the board that she had forgiven Pistorius “long ago”.

But she wrote: “I do not believe Oscar’s version that he thought the person in the toilet was a burglar. In fact, I do not know anybody who does.

“My dearest child screamed for her life; loud enough for the neighbours to hear her. I do not know what gave rise to his choice to shoot through a closed door four times at somebody with hollow-point ammunition when I believe, he knew it was Reeva.”

The murder of Steenkamp happened when Pistorius was at the height of his fame and just months after he had become the first double-amputee to compete at the Olympics He was also a multiple Paralympic sprinting champion.

But his life would change forever when he fired four shots from a pistol through the door of the couple’s apartment, killing the 29-year-old. Pistorius would claim he believed an intruder was in the house.

In coming to its decision, the parole board will have taken into account a wide range of factors, including the offender’s conduct in prison, their mental health, and any risk posed to the community by their release.

Asked if the public would be protected under the release, Mr Nxumalo said after the hearing: “Whether it’s a woman, it’s a man, whoever, no-one has a right to take a life, and when we’ve seen things going out of control where women and children are the ones at the receiving end… I think as a society we have to stand up against such so when courts issue sentences it’s in a way of a deterrent to save others.

“’ Please, this is not allowed’, ‘don’t find yourself inside’ – and you may have noticed in South Africa courts have been issuing quite lengthy sentences in a way of preventing people from engaging in awful activities, but our trust as correctional services is to make a point that sentences issued by courts are respected in a way that people do serve those sentences in full and that is what we do.”

Source: The Independent UK

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