Oscar Pistorius will be released on parole in January, prison authorities announced Friday, drawing criticism from Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, who said she did not believe the South African athlete had been rehabilitated since he murdered her daughter almost 11 years ago.
Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times through the bathroom door of his house in 2013, denying that he killed her in a fit of anger and saying instead he had mistaken her for an intruder. He was originally sentenced to 13 years and five months imprisonment.
June Steenkamp said she was concerned for the safety of other women once he was released on parole.
In a victim impact statement, she said her daughter’s death had left a “massive hole” in her life that cannot be filled.
Her statement was also read outside a South African parole board meeting by a family representative.
In the statement, Steenkamp said while she had forgiven Pistorius, she doesn’t believe his version of events.
“At this time, I am not convinced that Oscar has been rehabilitated,” her statement said.
“Rehabilitation requires someone to engage honestly with the full truth of his crime and the consequences thereof. Nobody can claim to have remorse if they are not able to engage fully with the truth.
“If someone does not show remorse, they cannot be considered to be rehabilitated. If they are not rehabilitated, their risk of recidivism is high.”
June Steenkamp said she did not attend Friday’s parole board hearing because she couldn’t “muster the energy to face him (Pistorius) again.”
She also raised concerns about his pattern of violent and aggressive behaviour.
“I do not know to what extent this behaviour still exists or were evident during his time of incarceration, but I am concerned for the safety of any woman should this not have been addressed in his rehabilitation.”
The athlete – known as the “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs and once feted as an inspirational figure after competing in the 2012 Olympics – became the center of a trial that was followed around the world.
During the trial, Pistorius pleaded not guilty to one charge of murder and a firearms charge associated with Steenkamp’s killing.
Prosecutors argued her killing was deliberate and that the shooting happened after the couple had an argument.
He frequently broke down in court and his past behavior was closely scrutinized.
Pistorius was convicted of manslaughter in 2014 and sentenced to five years. But a higher court overturned the conviction and changed it to murder a year later, increasing his sentence to six years in prison.
The ruling was appealed by prosecutors who claimed the sentence was too lenient. Pistorius’ sentence was increased to 13 years and five months by South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal in 2017.
Nimi Princewill and Niamh Kennedy contributed to this report.
This story was updated.