Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee South African Olympic athlete, was today released from jail on parole, nearly 11 years after he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
It was in the middle of the night when Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee South African Olympic athlete, claims woke up as he thought he heard an intruder. Pistorius grabbed his 9mm pistol from under his bed, put on his prosthetic legs, went toward the bathroom, and fired four shots. But his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was in the bathroom and not an intruder.
It was only when he called out to Steenkamp, whom he believed to be in bed beside him, that he realised the possibility of a tragic mistake. Pistorius claims he immediately broke down the locked bathroom door using a cricket bat, then carried the 29-year-old model downstairs in an attempt to seek help. Despite his efforts, Steenkamp died in his arms.
This is what the six-time Paralympic gold winner told the court, in his defence of why he shot dead his girlfriend on Valentine's Day in 2013.
Prosecutors, however, dispute Pistorius' version of events. They allege that the former track star intentionally put on his prosthetic legs, walked to the bathroom, where Steenkamp had locked herself after a heated argument, and shot at her four times. Three bullets struck Steenkamp, leading to her death.
Pistorius, now 37, spent about eight and a half years in jail as well as seven months under home arrest before he was sentenced for murder. He was today released from jail on parole.
In a statement shared by the Steenkamp family lawyer on Friday, Reeva's mother June said: "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," June Steenkamp said, adding her only desire was to be allowed to live in peace after Pistorius' release on parole.
Known worldwide as "Blade Runner" for his carbon-fibre prosthetics, Oscar Pistorius will not be allowed to speak to the media as a condition of his parole.
Abhimanyu Kulkarni, NDTV, New Delhi