Oscar Pistorius Granted Parole: A Look Back at the Tragic Shooting of Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius murdered his girlfriend, the model Reeva Steenkamp, when he shot her through a bathroom door. (Photo by LUCKY NXUMALO / AFP)

Oscar Pistorius, the South African Paralympic champion, is set to be released on parole in January, almost 11 years after the tragic shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The incident, which occurred on Valentine’s Day in 2013, captivated the world and led to Pistorius, known as the “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs, being sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison.

Reeva Steenkamp, a model and aspiring lawyer, had been dating Pistorius for just a few months before her untimely death. Born in 1983 in Cape Town, Steenkamp had a successful modeling career from the age of 14, appearing in men’s magazine FHM and representing various beauty and jewelry brands in South Africa. Alongside her modeling pursuits, she studied law at university and worked as a legal assistant, aspiring to be admitted to the bar.

The tragic event unfolded when Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times through the locked bathroom door of his home. Despite Pistorius claiming he mistook her for an intruder, the jury found him guilty of murder. The shocking incident raised questions about Pistorius’s defense and drew attention to issues of crime and security in South Africa.

In his defense, Pistorius argued that he believed an intruder was in the bathroom, a common concern in a country where crime is prevalent. However, the court rejected his plea, and he was sentenced to over a decade in prison.

Steenkamp’s mother, June, played a significant role in the recent decision to grant Pistorius parole. Reportedly not challenging his release, June Steenkamp expressed forgiveness towards Pistorius, although she did not fully believe his defense. In a letter submitted to the parole hearing, she emphasized the need for genuine remorse and resolution of anger issues before considering rehabilitation.

Oscar Pistorius, now 37, will be released on January 5, 2024, after serving over half of his sentence. Conditions of his parole include anger therapy management, restrictions on alcohol consumption, and residence in the up-market suburb of Waterkloof in Pretoria.

The tragic shooting of Reeva Steenkamp and the subsequent legal proceedings have left an indelible mark on both families involved, raising broader questions about justice, accountability, and the consequences of violence. As Oscar Pistorius prepares for his release, the world reflects on the events that unfolded on that fateful Valentine’s Day in 2013.