Oscar Pistorius gets parole. How the South African blade runner ended up behind bars

The murder convicted blade runner received parole after 9 years

Oscar Pistorius (FILE) Oscar Pistorius is escorted by police officers as he arrives for his sentencing | Reuters

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been released from prison on parole and is now at home, South Africa's Department of Corrections said Friday. The department gave no more details of Pistorius' release. The announcement came in the morning., indicating corrections officials had released the world-famous double-amputee Olympic runner from the Atteridgeville Correctional Center in the South African capital, Pretoria, in the early hours.

He was arrested and sentenced to 13 years, for murdering his girlfriend and model Reeva Steenkamp. He is released from the jail for parole after 9 years. Here is a brief recap of the developments that led to his imprisonment.

Life and rise to fame

Pistorius was born in South Africa. Both his legs were amputated when he was 11 months old due to a congenital defect. He was famous for his participation in both the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. He was the 10th sprinter to do so. 

He first rose to the limelight due to his usage of his J-shaped prosthetic leg—“Flex-Foot Cheetah”. However, it was banned by the sports governing body IAAF as it overpowered the other athletes. But, he returned to the field, by winning a hat-trick gold medal for 100, 200, and 400 meter races in the 2008 Paralympic Games. He then participated in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games and in the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games. Apart from running, he had interests in other sports like horse riding.

From the track to the trials

The homicide happened on 14 February 2013. Pistorius’s girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp was shot and killed in their house in Pretoria. He admitted shooting her four times and claimed that mistook her for a possible intruder.

His defence is that he went outside to the balcony, to close a window. And at the same time, she also got up from the bed and went to the bathroom. When he returned, the room was dark and he thought she was lying on the bed. He heard a noise in the bathroom and as he had several death threats at that time, his claimed ‘generalised anxiety disorder’ made him terrified. Pistorius shot at the bathroom door four times and when he realised that Steenkamp was not in the bed, he smashed open the bathroom door and saw her lying on the floor.

All these arguments were rejected by the prosecution saying that the murder was intentional. They also brought up witnesses who heard the couple’s fight from the yards. Prosecutor says that Steenkamp tried to help herself out of his anger and locked herself behind the bathroom door. His anger enraged him to pick up the pistol and shoot her with a mindset of persecuting her. The prosecution also rejected Pistorius’s claim of having an anxiety disorder. His claim of culpable homicide was also turned over by the court.

After several arguments and releases, he was finally arrested and put under house arrest in 2014 and jailed in 2016. The 2017 appeal from the prosecution resulted in the Supreme Court increasing the sentence to 13 years and months. 

Parole and Restrictions

The decision to grant him parole was decided in November last year. His parole is under huge restrictions. He is not allowed to leave his home and should abstain from alcohol. Meeting the parole officials and other officers is also mandatory. He also can’t leave Waterkloof without permission. This case remains a notable example of a high-profile legal proceeding with an international interest.

Join our WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news, exclusives and videos on WhatsApp