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Olympian Oscar Pistorius Will Meet With His Murdered Girlfriend’s Father In A Bid For Early Release

Photo: Jaguar PS | Trevor Christopher | Shutterstock
Oscar Pistorius, Barry Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius, who was convicted for the murder of his girlfriend in 2013, is set to meet her father in an attempt to receive an early release from prison.

Pistorius, who is one of few double-amputees to compete in both the Olympics and Paralympics, was convicted of murder for shooting model Reeva Steenkamp multiple times through a toilet door in his home on Valentine’s Day 2013.

He was convicted in 2015 and sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison, after claiming he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder. In July 2021, he became eligible for parole under South African law after serving half his sentence.

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Now, in a bid to be released early from prison, Pistorius is due to meet one of the people most impacted by his crime as part of South Africa's victim-offender dialogue policy.

Oscar Pistorius will meet with Reeva Steenkamp's father.

The meetings are aimed at achieving some kind of closure for families of victims of crimes and would allow Barry Steenkamp to challenge Pistorius on why he shot and killed his daughter.

Pistorius could also have a significant amount of time knocked off his sentence if Steenkamp is satisfied with the outcome of the talks and believes his daughter's killer has truly changed.

In November 2021, when it was first announced that Pistorius would be meeting with the victim's father, their lawyer, Tania Koen, told NBC News, "They (Barry and June [Reeva's mother]) feel that Reeva has got a voice. They are Reeva’s voice, and they owe it to their beloved daughter."

Despite Reeva's mother, June, previously expressing interest in meeting with Pistorius, Koen said that she has changed her mind and is not ready to confront her daughter's killer.

However, the victim's parents will be able to make recommendations to the parole board, although it's not clear if they will oppose Pistorius’ release.

Pistorius will most likely be taken from where he is incarcerated at the Atteridgeville Correctional Center in the capital, Pretoria, to the Steenkamps’ home city of Gqerberha for the victim-offender meeting since Barry Steenkamp is unable to travel due to his health.

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The former athlete had previously sent Steenkamp’s parents a “distressing” letter that Koen said was “like ripping a Band-Aid off a wound."

"I cannot divulge the contents of that letter," Koen told the Mirror. "It was quite emotionally distressing for them. They did not know it was coming and it was sent to me by his attorney.”

Koen also said it was a "huge surprise" for the Steenkamps when correction services officials contacted them in October 2021 to say that Pistorius was eligible for parole. They had believed he would only be eligible in 2023.

“Barry has said for years he wants to meet Oscar and he has questions to ask. They are not emotionally prepared, but are prepared to meet Oscar," Koen continued, adding that "they accept[ed] the day [would] come" when Pistorius would be eligible for parole.

According to Pistorius' lawyer, Julian Knight, he believes his client has met all of the requirements for an early release.

“From what I have observed of him he has been a model prisoner while he has been in prison,” Knight told NBC News.

“My view is that he does meet the requirements to be placed on parole but the procedures must be followed.”

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.

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