Former Olympic runner and Paralympic gold medalist, Oscar Pistorius, had his parole appeal denied by South Africa’s parole board, keeping him incarcerated for more than 10 years after he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The board assessed his conduct and disciplinary record in prison, participation in educational or training courses in the last decade of incarceration, and mental and physical state to determine if Pistorius, now 36, remained a threat to public safety.
Steenkamp’s mother, June, spoke out against Pistorius at the hearing, stating she did not believe he was remorseful for his actions. The parole board met behind closed doors to hear arguments for and against Pistorius’s early release.
The case garnered worldwide attention during the 2014 murder trial, in which Pistorius argued that he had mistakenly shot Steenkamp, believing her to be an intruder. Prosecutors maintained that he had deliberately killed his girlfriend. Ultimately, Pistorius was convicted of murder and sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison in 2017.
While Pistorius can reapply for parole in another year, Steenkamp’s parents oppose his early release, demanding that he take responsibility for the murder of their daughter. In South Africa, family members of murder victims are encouraged to attend parole hearings and share their input. However, Steenkamp’s parents’ opinions remain divided amid speculation about Pistorius’s sincerity and conducting a meeting with them which was required under South Africa’s parole rules.
Before the murder, Pistorius became a global sensation during the London Olympics in 2012, earning recognition as the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied sprinters. The prosthetics he wore earned him the nickname “Blade Runner.”
While Pistorius’s case received worldwide attention and highlighted domestic violence in South Africa, it ultimately leaves Steenkamp’s parents fighting for justice and hoping to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.
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