Pistorius at home with family, will “strictly” follow parole terms


Pretoria (dpa) – Oscar Pistorius will “strictly adhere” to the conditions of his early release from prison, a family spokeswoman said Tuesday after the South African double-amputee athlete spent his first night under house arrest.

“Oscar is at home with the family,” spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess told journalists outside Pistorius’ uncle’s mansion in a wealthy Pretoria suburb, where he is staying.

His “sentence continues, his sentence isn’t shortened, has not been reduced,” Burgess emphasized.

“He will strictly adhere to the conditions set by the parole board,” she added. Those conditions include community service, not drinking alcohol and not owning a gun.

Pistorius, 28, was freed on Monday – a day earlier than expected – from the Kgosi Mampuru II prison in Pretoria, where he was serving a five-year sentence for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, 29.

The athlete was released after a year in prison, with the South African parole board deeming that he was eligible to continue serving his sentence under house arrest.

“The local management of the correctional centre concerned took the interests of all parties into account before making the decision to release him,” prison department spokesman Manelisi Wolela told dpa.

A lawyer for the Steenkamp family said: “Whether Oscar Pistorius was released one day early or today, it makes absolutely no difference at all. Reeva is still dead.”

“What the family are doing is focusing their energy on their foundation. That is what is important to them now,” Tanya Koen told dpa.

The Steenkamp family is due to launch in January the Reeva Steenkamp Foundation in defence of abused women and children.

Prosecutors had argued that Pistorius’ relationship with Steenkamp was abusive, and that he deliberately killed her. Pistorius said he mistook the model for an intruder, an argument that was accepted by the court.

Pistorius fired four shots at Steenkamp through a locked toilet door at his home in Pretoria in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013. She died at the scene.

Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years on October 21, 2014, after a trial that lasted more than seven months and attracted worldwide attention.

On November 3, the Supreme Court of Appeal will hold a hearing on whether the verdict against Pistorius should be changed from culpable homicide to murder.

Prosecutors will argue that judge Thokozile Masipa misinterpreted the law when she found that Pistorius had not deliberately shot Steenkamp.

If the Supreme Court of Appeal rules in their favour, Pistorius could be sent back to prison for a minimum of 15 years.

Known widely as the Blade Runner for his use of running blades, Pistorius became the first Paralympian to compete in the Olympic Games in 2012.