Pistorius under house arrest after one year behind bars for killing girlfriend

Tue Oct 20, 2015 10:06am EDT
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By TJ Strydom

PRETORIA (Reuters) - Oscar Pistorius, South Africa's double-amputee "Blade Runner", was released on parole late on Monday, just short of a year into his five-year sentence for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013.

The disgraced Paralympic gold medallist must serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest and still faces an appeal on Nov. 3 by prosecutors who argue that he should have been convicted of murder, not culpable homicide.

Pistorius, 28, who was found guilty of the lesser charge for firing four shots through a locked bathroom door that hit Steenkamp, will be confined to his uncle Arnold's home in a wealthy suburb of the capital, Pretoria.

Pistorius had been expected to leave prison on Tuesday, and his early release took media by surprise.

Family spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess said on Tuesday that they were glad to have Pistorius home and that the athlete would observe his parole conditions closely.

"The family is happy that Oscar is home, but they want to make the point that his sentence continues," Burgess said outside the house.

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) said officials at the capital's Kgosi Mampuru II prison, formerly known as Pretoria Central, had acted to avoid a media scrum at its gates.

"The handling of the actual placement is an operational matter of the local management, and how they handle it is their prerogative," department spokesman Manelisi Wolela said in a text message. "They carry it out in the best interest of all parties concerned."   Continued...

Olympic and Paralympic running star Oscar Pistorius stands during court proceedings at the Pretoria Magistrates court August 19, 2013.   REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko