South African former professional sprinter and convicted murderer, Oscar Pistorius is now a free man today after being smuggled out of prison after serving half his 13-year jail term
The Blade Runner was escorted out of Atteridgeville Correctional Centre and taken to his new home on the estate of his uncle Arnold Pistorius outside Pretoria, 11 years after he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
He was granted an early release from prison on November 24, 2023, after a parole board review determined the 37-year-old was fit for social reintegration, and set his release date for January 5 of this year.
The disgraced Paralympian is ‘now at home’ after his release on parole Friday, authorities said, after a police car was seen pulling into his uncle’s home in the upscale Waterkloof suburb of Pretoria.
The announcement came at around 8:30am, indicating corrections officials had released the world-famous double-amputee Olympic runner in the early hours.
Upon his release, images emerged of a previous jail cell showing the conditions in which the former Paralympian lived. His prosthetic legs are seen inside the small dingy cell, and family photos were plastered on the wall.
Meanwhile, Steenkamp’s mother June said in a statement she is the one ‘serving a life sentence’ in her grief, and wished that the release of the man who murdered her daughter would help bring her some peace.
June Steenkamp believes Pistorius is guilty over the slaying of Reeva, but wants to step back out of the spotlight to mourn her daughter and husband Barry who died last September ‘from a broken heart.
Reeva died after Pistorius shot her four times through the bathroom door of their home on Valentine’s Day 2013.
He insisted it was an accident as he thought an intruder had broken into the house.
Pistorius was released from Atteridgeville Corrections Centre 11 years after shooting Reeva dead.
He will remain under the supervision of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) and will be subject to parole conditions until his sentence expires in December 2029.
He will be assigned a monitoring official, who will have to be kept informed when Pistorius is seeking job opportunities or moving homes.
His uncle’s estate is fortified by armed guards, security technology, and canine patrols, which should provide a high level of protection from the media attention and potential attackers that are likely to descend on the compound following his release.
In a heartfelt statement, Mrs Steenkamp said today: ‘February 2013 (was) the day life changed forever. The day South Africa lost its hero, Oscar Pistorius, and the day Barry and I lost our precious daughter, Reeva, at Oscar’s hands.
‘Now, almost 11 years later, the pain is still raw and real, and my dear late husband Barry and I have never been able to come to terms with Reeva’s death, or the way she died.
‘Through the years Barry and I were encouraged by the love and messages of support from both friends and strangers.
‘I wish I could thank each one personally for carrying Barry and I through these difficult years. Part of Barry and my daily conversations were always flooded by the sorrow we felt for the parents and families of victims whose perpetrators were not brought to book.
‘Our thoughts remained with them as they were denied any form of closure and the names of their loved ones never recognised or honoured.
‘It made us feel guilty to an extent, but at the same time the trauma of re-living and re-telling our story has been a huge cross for us to bear.
‘Whilst we remain grateful to the media, the intensity of the coverage of Oscar’s trial, imprisonment, and parole has been a double-edged sword.
‘The media interest meant the loss of our privacy and made it difficult to mourn in peace. Sadly, reports were often accompanied by verbal and emotional abuse by some members of the public – not only towards us, but also towards our deceased daughter.
‘It is my sincere wish, and it was Barry’s too, that people will take a moment to consider the impact of their hurtful comments.
‘We did not choose this. We would much rather have our loving daughter alive, and laughing, with us.
We have always known that parole is part of the South African legal system, and we have always said that the law must take its course.
‘Oscar Pistorius’s release on parole, subject to certain conditions, has affirmed Barry and my belief in the South African justice system.
‘The conditions imposed by the parole board, which includes anger management courses and programs on gender-based violence, send out a clear message that gender-based violence is taken seriously.’
She added: ‘Has there been justice for Reeva? Has Oscar served enough time? 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.
‘With the release of Oscar Pistorius on parole, my only desire is that I will be allowed to live my last years in peace with my focus remaining on the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation, to continue Reeva’s legacy.’