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24 Aug 2015 07:18
Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius landscape. (Gallo)
The 28-year-old athlete Oscar Pistorius was due to be released last week after serving only 10 months in prison for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, but in a surprise decision Justice Minister Michael Masutha suspended the move.
Pistorius was convicted in October last year of culpable homicide – a charge equivalent to manslaughter – over the killing of Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013.
Prosecutors have appealed, seeking a murder conviction instead.
“How can 10 months be enough? He killed her. He admits he killed her.
“Only Oscar will know for the rest of his life what really happened and would you like to live with it? Would I? Never, ever.”
Masutha said a parole board decision taken in June to free Pistorius and allow him to serve out the rest of his five-year sentence under house arrest was “premature” and suspended it pending review.
“We will leave it to the justice system,” Reeva’s father Barry Steenkamp told the broadcaster. “It’s not finished, not finished by a long way.
“If the outcome is there’s going to be a longer sentence, are we going to feel better? I don’t know.”
The athlete admitted during a nine-week trial watched around the world that he killed Steenkamp by shooting her through a locked bathroom door, but claimed he mistook her for an intruder.
Her father is convinced they had a fight and Pistorius killed her in a fit of rage.
“He got angry, she went off to the toilet, locked herself inside, and then him pulling out the gun and shooting,” he said.
“When he realised that had happened, then he couldn’t stop and he had to carry on until it was finished.”
The athlete – known as the “Blade Runner” for the prosthetic legs he wears on the track – won international fame after racing against able-bodied competitors in the 2012 London Olympics, making him a poster boy for sport.
He has expressed remorse for Steenkamp’s death and her parents said he had tried to make contact with them since his conviction, but they were not ready.
“I would say, ‘All I want you to realise is that you have ruined our lives. You have taken her life, her possible marriage or having a baby. Our grandchild. And you have ruined our lives.’ I just want to say that,” June Steenkamp said. – AFP
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