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Oscar Pistorius murder case explained as he's granted release from prison

Oscar Pistorius murder case explained as he's granted release from prison

Oscar Pistorius will be released from prison on parole

South African athlete, Oscar Pistorius, will be released from prison on 5 January, 2024 after a parole hearing today (24 November) decided he was eligible.

Pistorius is prison after being found guilty of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp.

Known as the 'blade runner' due to being a double amputee, Pistorius reached the apex of his fame after he competed at the 2012 London Olympics.

Less than a year later, the South African athlete was under investigation for shooting Steenkamp, with him initially being convicted of culpable homicide before appeals from prosecutors had his conviction upgraded to murder.

It was today left up to a parole board to decide whether the 37-year-old was 'suitable or not for social integration'.

Oscar Pistorius is in prison for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

What happened in the murder case?

In the early hours of Valentine's Day 2013, Oscar Pistorius fired multiple shots through a toilet door in his home with a licensed handgun, killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

He claimed that he fired through the door because he believed that the person on the other side of the door was a dangerous intruder hiding in his bathroom.

Pistorius claimed he fired the shots 'to protect Reeva and myself', while prosecutors argued that the killing was premeditated and that Pistorius shot Steenkamp on purpose after an argument.

Pistorius claimed he thought the person he shot was an intruder in the house.
Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images

What happened at the trial?

Oscar Pistorius' murder trial began on 3 March, 2014, and on 20 May was adjourned until 30 June so he could undergo psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he could be held criminally responsible.

He was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder, but deemed able to be held criminally responsible for shooting Steenkamp.

On 12 September, he was found guilty of culpable homicide and a firearm-related charge of reckless endangerment linked to firing a gun in a restaurant.

He was found not guilty of firearm-related charges connected to possessing illegal ammunition and firing a gun through the sunroof of a car.

Pistorius received a five year sentence for culpable homicide with a stipulation that he must serve at least 10 months of that in prison, one-sixth of his sentence.

June and Barry Steenkamp, the parents of Reeva.
Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

What happened next?

Pistorius was recommended for early release in June 2015, with a date of 21 August set for his return to house arrest.

His release was blocked on 19 August, 2015 on the grounds that he should not have been considered for release until he had served one-sixth of his sentence.

Pistorius was later released on 19 October, but the following month, South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal heard an appeal which had been made by the prosecution.

Prosecutors argued that regardless of who had been behind the toilet door, Pistorius would have known that whomever it was might die when he opened fire.

His conviction of culpable homicide was overturned and he was found guilty of murder at the end of 2015, and on 6 July, 2016 he was sentenced to six years in prison for murder, while in November 2017 a further nine years were added to his sentence for a total of 15.

In 2015 his conviction for culpable homicide was changed to murder.
Marco Longari - Pool/Getty Images

Why was he up for parole now?

Pistorious has now served half of his sentence, which under South African law made him eligible for parole.

He had previously attempted to secure a parole hearing earlier this year and told he would not be eligible until August 2024.

However, he was granted another hearing after the court made a mistake and didn't count a period of time Pistorius had served when his murder charge was first appealed.

The decision to grant him another parole hearing has been seen as an admission of the court's error.

Pistorius now faces a parole hearing which might see him released from prison.
Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images

When will he be released?

Oscar Pistorius is set to be released from prison on 5 January, 2024, according to the parole board.

Featured Image Credit: DEAAN VIVIER/AFP/Getty Images/Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Topics: Crime, World News, Olympics, Sport