true crime

How Oscar Pistorius was granted parole, despite killing Reeva Steenkamp.

On Valentine's Day in 2013, Reeva Steenkamp was killed by her boyfriend, Paralympian Oscar Pistorius.

The South African model and paralegal died after Pistorius fired his gun four times through a bathroom door of his high-security house.

His trial was watched and scrutinised by millions around the globe – every minute of over 40 days in court broadcast live and amplified by social media. 

Steenkamp's family were desperately seeking justice. Pistorius was claiming his innocence. He still does. 

He was initially found guilty of the lesser crime of culpable homicide. After another lengthy trial and several appeals, Pistorius was found guilty of murder and given a 13-year jail sentence in 2017. 

Now, just over 10 years on from Steenkamp's murder, Pistorius has been granted parole and he will leave jail in 2024.

What many are now wondering is how parole was granted so soon, considering the high-profile murder took place only a decade ago. 

Watch: June and Barry Steenkamp speak about their daughter Reeva. Post continues below.


The Steenkamp family lawyer Tania Koen told Mamamia earlier this year that offenders in South Africa are automatically eligible for parole consideration after serving half of their sentence.

She had it on good authority that Pistorius' lawyers were going to apply for parole, given he has technically now served more than half of his sentence. 

On November 24, Pistorius was granted parole and will be released from prison on January 5, 2024.

He will be required to remain in Waterkloof in the city of Pretoria with his family during his parole. He will also be given anger management therapy and will not be permitted to consume alcohol. 

"Parole does not mean the end of the sentence. It is still part of the sentence. It only means the inmate will complete the sentence outside a correctional facility," said South Africa's Department of Corrections spokesman.

Calvin Mollett co-authored the book Oscar vs The Truth. It investigates the question: did Pistorius know that Steenkamp was behind the toilet door? According to the legal case, the verdict, and Mollett's extensive additional research, the answer is yes. 

Speaking with Mamamia's news podcast The Quicky, Mollett says that Steenkamp was certainly murdered, not a mistake. As for what Pistiorius' defence was, here's a quick explainer.

He claims he feared an intruder, a burglar, was in his house when he fired through the bathroom door. 


He says he was protecting Steenkamp and himself from the burglar, and that's why he fired his gun. He says he screamed and shouted for the burglar to leave, and also shouted for Steenkamp to get on the floor and call the police.

Pistorius also says he was vulnerable and scared, as he had quickly got out of his bed, and therefore didn't have his prosthetic lower legs on.

He says he went back to the bedroom after he fired the shots, and realised Steenkamp wasn't in the bed. He says he put his prosthetic legs on, went to the bathroom and knocked down the locked bathroom door with a cricket bat.

He says he was screaming with panic.

Steenkamp was on the other side of the bathroom door, deceased. He says it was at this point that he realised it hadn't been an intruder, but Steenkamp in the bathroom.

Following the arduous court process, Pistorius' defence was debunked and he was found guilty of murder.

Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius. Image: AAP.


Investigative author Calvin Mollett provides The Quicky with multiple reasons why Pistorius' claims don't add up. 

"There were signs that Oscar and Reeva were arguing. There were wounds on her body that cannot be reconciled with Oscar's version of events," he notes.

There are also disturbances in the bedroom that cannot be explained, referring to the prosecution's argument that there was a fight between the couple throughout the house in the lead up to the killing.

"Most importantly, neighbours heard a woman scream that evening. That cannot be denied. He claims he screamed like that, but that has never been proven. It is the neighbours sincere belief that they heard a woman scream before the gunshots.

"If she screamed, then he would of known where she was and not have shot through the door."

What is the most likely, and convicted theory, is that Steenkamp and Pistorius had an argument, and during this argument, Steenkamp was physically assaulted by Pistorius. She fled the bedroom, locked herself in the toilet room for her own safety, and Pistorius became enraged.


"He obviously became enraged, she screamed and she screamed. That enraged him more and he went to fetch his gun. And in a moment of blind fury, he shot through the toilet door to keep her quiet," says Mollett.

"He has never admitted this. He has shown a lot of remorse and apologised to the parents, but he has never admitted the full truth."

 As Steenkamp's mother June told Mamamia in July this year: "It's a story that's been made up to save him. No one [a burglar/intruder] was in the toilet. It was Reeva in the toilet. And he knew. She was the most beautiful girl, this wonderful, wonderful girl who loved us so much and we loved her."

If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. 

Mamamia is a charity partner of RizeUp Australia, a Queensland-based organisation that helps women and families move on after the devastation of domestic violence. If you would like to support their mission to deliver life-changing and practical support to these families when they need it most, you can donate here.

Feature Image: AAP.