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Oscar Pistorius will not be released early from 13-year jail sentence

Oscar Pistorius will not be released early from his 13-year-five-month jail sentence for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a parole board has decided.

The former Olympic and Paralympic athlete, known as the Blade Runner, had applied for parole after serving half of his jail term.

Earlier, Reeva’s mother June Steenkamp told Sky News that Pistorius was “not remorseful or rehabilitated” ahead of the hearing.

A parole board spokesperson confirmed he could reapply for early release in August 2024.

Tania Koen, a lawyer for the Steenkamp family, told Sky News: “While we welcome today’s decision, today is not a cause for celebration.

“We miss Reeva terribly and will do so for the rest of our lives. We believe in justice and hope that it continues to prevail.”

Pistorius’s lawyer, Julian Knight, said they would appeal the parole refusal.

The 36-year-old has served half of his 13-year sentence following his conviction for murdering his girlfriend in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013.

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The South African athlete started his bid for parole in August last year after claiming he had “done everything in [his] power to rehabilitate”.

A hearing had previously been cancelled because Pistorius had not met with Ms Steenkamp’s parents, but in June 2022, The Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation confirmed that a meeting with Pistorius and Barry Steenkamp had taken place as part of South Africa’s restorative justice programme.

Prior to the murder, Pistorius had been best known for his sporting prowess, winning gold at the London 2012 Paralympics and making history as the first double amputee to compete alongside non-disabled athletes in the Olympics.

But all that changed on 14 February 2013 when he shot and killed his girlfriend in a bathroom at his home in Pretoria, South Africa.

Pistorius has always insisted the shooting was a mistake, saying he thought an intruder was in the house and he feared for his safety.

He fired four shots through a locked toilet door, hitting Ms Steenkamp, 29, in the head, hip and arm.

Pistorius claimed in court it was only when he battered down the door with a cricket bat that he realised who was behind it.

But the prosecution said the murder was premeditated and Pistorius shot Ms Steenkamp after an argument.

Pistorius was initially not found guilty of murder and was instead convicted of culpable homicide (the equivalent of a manslaughter charge in the UK).

He was sentenced to five years in 2014, and was eventually released from prison and placed under house arrest.

A year later, that conviction was overturned when South Africa’s supreme court of appeal found him guilty of murder.

He was sentenced to six years – which was then increased to 13 years and five months after the sentence was deemed “shockingly too lenient” in an appeal. Sky News