JOHANNESBURG – Former Olympic runner and Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius was again denied parole on Friday. South Africa’s parole board handed down the verdict, jailing Pistorius for more than 10 years after he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The board considered his conduct and disciplinary record in prison, his participation in educational or other training courses during his last decade in prison, and his mental and physical condition to assess whether Pistorius, now 36, would still pose a threat to public safety.
He can reapply for parole in another year.
Steenkamp’s mother, June, arrived at the parole hearing on Friday, and was asked if she believed Pistorius was remorseful.
“No. Never,” she said. “It’s very difficult to be in the same room as him.”
Steenkamp’s parents were expected to speak to the parole board, which met behind closed doors, to oppose granting Pistorius early parole.
“We don’t believe his story,” June Steenkamp told reporters as her car pulled into Pretoria’s Atteridgeville Correctional Center on Friday.
The 2014 murder trial had viewers around the world glued to live court broadcasts as prosecutors argued that the elite athlete deliberately shot his girlfriend in the middle of the night through a locked bathroom door.
Pistorius has always maintained that it was a freak accident and that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder. He was ultimately convicted of murder after prosecutors successfully appealed a preliminary conviction for felony murder, which is comparable to manslaughter. He was sentenced in 2017 to 13 years and five months in prison, which he has already served for more than a year while the appeals process continues.
Social workers visited his uncle Arno Pistorius’ estate in Pretoria, where he would have served the remainder of his sentence if granted parole.
Pistorius was last up for parole in 2021, but that request was denied on a technicality because he had Steenkamp’s family has not been met As required by South African parole rules. That meeting has since taken place, but Steenkamp’s parents remain unconvinced that Pistorius has taken responsibility for his actions.
Steenkamp’s mother indicated earlier Friday that, along with her husband, she would oppose Pistorius’ early release, arguing that if he does not admit that he intentionally killed their daughter, he cannot be considered to have shown remorse.
A year before the murder, Pistorius was a star at the London Olympics, gaining worldwide recognition for becoming the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied sprinters. His mastery of twin carbon-fiber prosthetics earned him the nickname “Blade Runner”.