Oscar Pistorius: what his life will be like after prison

Former sprinter granted parole a decade after killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius being walked into his trial in 2016
Oscar Pistorius arrives at Pretoria High Court in June 2016 for sentencing. He was jailed for 13 years and five months
(Image credit: Getty Images/AFP / Stringer)

South African Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius will be released from prison on 5 January, more than a decade after killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius went from sporting "idol" to "convicted killer" after shooting Steenkamp dead on Valentine's Day in 2013, said The Telegraph.

His freedom will mark "a new chapter in a case that continues to enthral South Africa and the world beyond, and generated one of the trials of the century", the paper added, but it's "another painful blow to the family" of the former model and TV personality Steenkamp, who believe "he has never told the truth" about the murder.

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The background

Pistorius was "on top of the world" at the time of the murder, said The Telegraph. He had won gold medals at the Paralympic Games in 2004 and 2008 and then competed at the London 2012 Olympic Games "on his customised carbon fibre prostheses" against the world's "fastest able-bodied" athletes – "the triumph of a boy who had two legs amputated below the knee" when he was 11 months old due to a congenital condition in childhood.

His story "became an inspiring example of humanity's ability to overcome a disability". But his "gilded life of red carpet events" ended just three months into his relationship with "one of the country's favourite daughters", Steenkamp, "when he opened fire in his Pretoria home" using a 9mm pistol. 

The prosecution argued the killing was premeditated and that he had shot the model after she had fled to the toilet after an argument. Pistorius, who wept through most of his testimony, has maintained he thought Steenkamp was a burglar. He was initially found not guilty of murder and instead convicted of culpable homicide – similar to manslaughter – and sentenced to five years in 2014. After he was released on house arrest, the Supreme Court of Appeal found him guilty of murder, ruling "he should have foreseen the possibility of killing someone when he fired shots into the bathroom".

The latest

Pistorius is due to be released from prison in January, but his parole won't end until the full term of his sentence expires on 5 December 2029.

He hasn't been pictured since his sentencing, but unconfirmed reports suggest "he has grown a beard, gained weight and taken up smoking", said The Telegraph, which makes him "unrecognisable from the elite athlete he once was". 

He will "live in luxury" in a three-storey mansion belonging to his uncle, Arnold, in the "affluent Pretoria suburb" Waterkloof, but he won't be allowed to leave the area without permission from the authorities. The Telegraph reported.

While he won't have to wear an electronic tag, officials will need to be notified of "major events" in his life, including "if he wants to move house or get a job", said Time magazine. He must also attend programmes to deal with anger issues and violence against women, and must carry out community service.

The reaction

Steenkamp's mother, June, said she does not think Pistorius has shown any remorse, but that she had forgiven him "long ago, as I knew most certainly that I would not be able to survive if I had to cling to my anger", said the BBC. Her husband, Barry, died earlier this year "utterly devastated by the thought that he had failed to protect his daughter", she said.

His "career as an athlete is over", added The Telegraph. "Yet he may still be able to find employment in coaching, or elsewhere in the sports industry."

The Daily Mail claims the 37-year-old Pistorius, a committed Christian, will study to become a preacher and will be "encouraged by his deeply law-abiding family to rationalise and find sanctity in God". 

And "after Johannesburg police received information that the city's underworld were out for revenge over Reeva's murder", he will also have to "keep an eye over his shoulder for the rest of his life", the Mail added.

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