Oscar Pistorius seeks early release from prison on parole

·2-min read

Oscar Pistorius is going to court to seek early release from his sentence for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The South African athlete, nicknamed Blade Runner after his racing prosthetics, is serving a 13-year sentence for the 2013 murder, when he shot dead Ms Steenkamp in their home.

He will argue he has already served more than half of his sentence - enough to be eligible for parole.

He was initially serving just six years, but in 2017 a South African court more than doubled his sentence to 13 years and five months.

Last year the court ruled his term should be backdated to October 2014 when he was initially sentenced for a lesser charge of culpable homicide.

Pistorius argues this means he has been eligible for parole since February last year.

"I humbly submit that I have done everything in my power to rehabilitate, to conduct myself in such a manner as to constantly comply with prison rules, to show full remorse," Pistorius told the judges in a statement, published by the News24 website.

"I have completed all possible programmes which were presented, and I have indeed qualified in terms of the Dept of Correctional Services guidelines for release on parole."

It comes after Pistorius met Ms Steenkamp's father as part of his parole bid.

In South Africa offenders must serve at least half of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole and then attend a hearing.

A hearing had previously been cancelled because Pistorius had not met with Ms Steenkamp's parents.

Confirming the meeting in a text message, a lawyer for the Steenkamp family, Tania Koen, said the pair met face-to-face on 22 June as part of a process in South Africa called victim-offender dialogue.

The process gives victims the chance to meet with offenders before they become eligible for parole.

Ms Koen added in her message: "The dialogue is a private and confidential matter, hence we ask that our clients' privacy be respected."

The Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation also confirmed the meeting had taken place, writing on its Facebook page: "We extend our love and support to Barry and June who participated in the process in preparing them for a meeting with Oscar Pistorius. Barry ultimately met with Oscar on 22 June 2022 for the Victim Offender Dialogue.

"A word of sincere gratitude to the Department of Correctional Services, especially the staff at St Albans Prison, for facilitating the process in a sensitive and professional manner."

At the time, a spokesman for the prison services said although Pistorius met with Ms Steenkamp's father he will continue to serve his sentence as normal, and that participating in the victim-offender dialogue process does not equate to the end of a sentence or automatic parole.

During his trial Pistorius claimed he had shot Ms Steenkamp four times through a locked toilet door because he mistook her for an intruder.