Oscar Pistorius, once considered South Africa’s greatest Paralympian, has been released on parole after serving an 11-year sentence for the murder of his then-girlfriend, Reena Steenkamp. Now, her mother has described the “life sentence” that the family faces every day.
Disgraced Paralympian Makes the Papers
Oscar Pistorius, once the pride of Paralympic and Olympic sports, recently emerged from prison on parole after serving nine years for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. June Steenkamp, Reeva’s mother, reflected on the family’s perpetual grief, asserting that their pain serves as a “life sentence.”
The unravelling of Pistorius’s life commenced on that fateful Valentine’s Day when he fatally shot the 29-year-old model through a locked bathroom door. This shocking incident marked the beginning of a legal saga that spanned several years, transforming Pistorius from a celebrated athlete to a convicted murderer.
Reeva’s mother, June Steenkamp, said in a statement, “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.”
Legal Twists and Turns
Initially acquitted of murder and convicted of culpable homicide in 2014, Pistorius began serving a five-year jail sentence. However, the case took an unexpected turn in December of the same year when the Supreme Court overturned the ruling, upgrading the charge to murder due to Pistorius’s failure to foresee the consequences of his actions.
In 2016, he received a six-year prison term, subsequently increased to 15 years, minus time served, by the Supreme Court in the following year.
November marked the decision to grant Pistorius parole, subjecting him to correctional supervision until 2029. His parole conditions include residing at his uncle’s home in an upscale Pretoria suburb, participating in programs on gender-based violence and anger management, abstaining from alcohol, and obtaining permission for travel or employment.
The specifics of his parole remain undisclosed, raising questions about the extent of his post-prison freedom.
The Steenkamp Family’s Ongoing Struggle
June Steenkamp, in a poignant expression, spoke out about the family’s silent suffering, revealing the toll the case has taken on their lives. “We, who remain behind, are the ones serving a life sentence,” she said.
The relentless media scrutiny forced them to relocate, and exorbitant legal fees nearly bankrupted them. The global fascination with Pistorius’s downfall even led to the establishment of a dedicated TV channel, highlighting the far-reaching consequences of such high-profile cases.
The widespread interest in Pistorius’s case reached international proportions, with journalists converging on the Pretoria high court. Mandy Wiener, co-author of a book on the case, describes the public’s emotional investment, resulting in polarized social media debates, aggressive discussions, and personal attacks.
The intense scrutiny transformed the case into a spectacle, overshadowing the legal proceedings and exacerbating the Steenkamp family’s ordeal.
Pistorius’s release on parole goes against Reeva Steenkamp’s passionate beliefs on violence against women in South Africa. Advocacy groups express concern that Pistorius’s early release may inadvertently send “the wrong message” to potential offenders, raising questions about the justice system’s handling of high-profile cases.
During his incarceration, Pistorius’s life underwent a substantial transformation. Beginning in a maximum-security prison, he later moved to a correctional centre more suited for inmates with disabilities.
Reports suggest a decline in his fitness during imprisonment, in stark contrast to his previous athletic prowess. His return to his uncle’s mansion, complete with luxury amenities and heightened security, marks a significant shift from his life behind bars.
The post Oscar Pistorius Resides at Uncle’s House After Release on Parole first appeared on Edge Media.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Trevor Christopher.