Former South Africa’s Paralympian, Oscar Pistorius, who killed his girlfriend 10 years ago, could be released on parole within weeks, his lawyer has said.
On 31 March, a parole board in South Africa will consider the case of the athlete who was jailed for shooting Reeva Steenkamp four times through a locked bathroom door at his home in Pretoria, in 2013.
He fired four high-calibre bullets, saying he believed the noise he heard was an intruder and it was self-defence.
He was jailed for 13 years and five months for murder.
“We have been advised by the parole board that the hearing will take place on the 31 March, 2023,” his lawyer Julian Knight said. “It’s an internal process.”
Last summer, Pistorius met Ms Steenkamp’s father, Barry, as part of the process for seeking parole. He will have served more than half of his sentence.
The process, known as victim-offender dialogue, is an integral part of South Africa’s restorative justice programme that brings parties affected by a crime together.
Reports said the meeting was organised after Pistorious wrote to the Steenkamps in October, which is thought to be his first contact with the family since his 2014 trial.
A friend who visited him in jail reportedly said he was asking his girlfriend’s bereaved family to forgive him.
But Mr Steenkamp and his wife, June, have since raised objections to Pistorius’s release although they have no power to block it.
Ms Steenkamp, 29, a successful model, TV personality and law graduate, had been in a relationship with Pistorius for just three months when he shot her.
Mr Knight said that if parole is granted, the Paralympian, 36, would probably leave jail the same day or soon after.
Pistorius, a double-amputee known as “the blade runner” because of his carbon-fibre prosthetics, is expected to appeal if his application is refused.
Offenders in South Africa are automatically eligible for parole consideration after serving half of their sentence.
During his lengthy televised trial, Pistorius used his testimony to apologise to Steenkamp’s family, telling the court: “There hasn’t been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven’t thought about your family.”
He was jailed in 2016, initially for a six-year term. After an appeal by prosecutors who said this was too lenient, the term was increased to 13 years.