Oscar Pistorius won his freedom after prosecutors admitted they had made a mistake by rejecting previous parole requests.
The double amputee, who competed in the 2012 London Olympics, will get a new chance at an emergency parole hearing on Friday.
His family and lawyers are confident South African prosecutors will release him after he was jailed for the 2013 shooting of model Reeva Steenkamp.
But if the gun-toting athlete known as ‘Blade Runner’ does achieve freedom, he will be kept under strict protection for fear of revenge attacks from the Johannesburg underworld, Mail Online has first revealed.
Pistorius was mistakenly excluded from prison for early release in March.
The double amputee (pictured, file image) who ran at the 2012 London Olympics will get another chance at an emergency parole hearing on Friday
His family and lawyers are confident South African prosecutors will release him after he was jailed for the 2013 murder of model Reeva Steenkamp (pictured).
The South African Prison Service announced today that a parole board will decide on Friday whether or not the inmate is suitable for social integration.
Reeva’s family said in an exclusive interview with Mail Online at their home in Port Elizabeth earlier this year that her killer’s daughter should remain behind bars.
Mr Barry Steenkamp, Reeva’s father, died in September, but both he and his wife June said they were against the killer’s release.
Pistorius, a world-famous double amputee athlete who broke barriers with carbon fiber runners at the 2012 London Olympics, shot Reeva multiple times through a closed toilet stall door at his home in the South African capital of Pretoria in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013.
His conviction was upgraded to murder and he was ultimately sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison after a series of appeals by the prosecution.
Serious offenders in South Africa must serve at least half of their sentence before being eligible for parole.
Pistorius’s case and his eligibility for parole were complicated by appeals from prosecutors, who first challenged his conviction for involuntary manslaughter and then a six-year prison sentence for murder that they described as shockingly lenient.
The Supreme Court of Appeal ultimately ruled in 2017 that Pistorius should serve South Africa’s minimum sentence of 15 years for murder, but took into account the year and seven months he had already served for manslaughter when deciding the sentence of 13 years and imposed for five months.
However, the court made a mistake by not counting the additional time Pistorius served while appealing his murder sentence, meaning he was actually eligible for parole in March, when he was told at his first hearing that this would not be the case until August 2024.
Pistorius’ lawyers took his case to the country’s highest constitutional court. The decision to grant Pistorius another parole hearing on Friday was effectively an admission of error by the appeals court, it said.
But if the gun-toting athlete known as ‘Blade Runner’ does achieve freedom, he will be kept under strict protection for fear of revenge attacks from the Johannesburg underworld, Mail Online has first revealed. It is said Pistorius was wrongly excluded from prison for an early release in March (file image)
Mr Barry Steenkamp (right), Reeva’s father, died in September, but both he and his wife June (left) said they were against the killer’s release
Pistorius, a world-famous double amputee athlete who broke barriers with carbon fiber runners at the 2012 London Olympics, shot Reeva multiple times through a closed toilet stall door at his home in the South African capital Pretoria in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 (file image)
Pistorius cannot be guaranteed that he will be released early. A parole board considers a number of factors, including his conduct and discipline in prison, his mental health, and the likelihood that he will commit another crime.
He could be released on full parole or on day parole, where he would be allowed to live and work in the community but would have to return to prison at night.
Pistorius was born with a congenital disease that led to his legs being amputated below the knee as a baby. However, he took up athletics and won several Paralympic titles on his running blades. He is the only double amputee to have run in the Olympics.
Known as “Blade Runner,” he was at the height of his fame when he killed Steenkamp months after the London Olympics. At his murder trial, he claimed he accidentally shot Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, with his licensed 9mm handgun because he believed she was a dangerous intruder hiding in his bathroom in the middle of the night .
Pistorius turns 37 on Wednesday and has not been seen for almost a decade, although there have been occasional glimpses of his time in prison.
Mr Steenkamp told MailOnline in February that he met Pistorius after he was flown from prison to a detention center near their home in Port Elizabeth.
He said he wasn’t convinced his daughter’s killer would win back his freedom.
“I wasted my time. He is a murderer. “He should stay in prison,” he told MailOnline.
Ms Steenkamp told why she refused to meet Pistorius and was even worse about the shooter.
She said: “I couldn’t imagine I would leave without hurting him. “I didn’t want to go to prison for attacking him. That would have been a great opportunity. It has not improved. As time goes by it gets worse because we miss Reeva every day because she is not with us.
“It’s very, very distressing that she couldn’t spend our last days with us because he took her with him.”
“Oscar took a lot from us and her.” Instead of getting upset, I’m now angry. I’m angry with him. It’s a terrible thing to say, but I can’t stand him.’