Oscar Pistorius: from ‘Blade Runner’ hero to convicted murderer

FILE PHOTO: South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius leaves the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria October 15, 2014. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Oscar Pistorius, known as the “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fibre prosthetic legs, was denied parole on Friday after he sought early release from prison where he is serving a 13-year sentence for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius, a South African, went from public hero as a Paralympic champion to a convicted murderer in hearings that drew worldwide attention nearly a decade ago.

Below is a timeline of his life:

1986 – Nov. 22 – Oscar Pistorius is born in Johannesburg. Born without fibulas, he has both legs amputated below the knees before turning one year old.

2003 – Pistorius starts sprint training in high school after learning to walk on prosthetic legs.

2004 – Running on carbon-fibre prosthetics, Pistorius becomes a Paralympic gold medallist when he wins the 200 metres in Athens.

2008 – Pistorius wins three golds at the Paralympics in Beijing.

2012 – Hailed as a turning point for disabled athletes, Pistorius becomes the first double amputee to compete at the Olympics, where he reaches the 400 metres semi-finals in London.

He wins two gold medals at the Paralympics.

2013 – Feb. 14 – Pistorius kills then girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a law graduate and model, when he fires four shots through a locked bathroom door at his Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day.

Feb. 15 – Pistorius is charged with murder in a Pretoria court.

2014 – Sept. 12 – A high court judge convicts Pistorius of culpable homicide, letting him off the more serious charge of murder.

Oct. 21 – Pistorius starts his five-year jail sentence.

2015 – March 13 – A high court judge strikes down Pistorius’ bid to block prosecutors from appealing the culpable homicide verdict in favour of a murder conviction.

Aug. 19 – South Africa’s justice minister blocks Pistorius’ expected release on parole after serving 10 months of his five-year sentence.

Oct. 19 – Pistorius is released to house arrest to serve the rest of his sentence at his uncle’s home in a wealthy suburb of Pretoria.

Dec. 3 – The Supreme Court of Appeal overturns the lower judge’s ruling and finds Pistorius guilty of murder, arguing he should have foreseen the possibility of killing someone when he fired the shots.

2016 – July 6 – Pistorius is sent back to jail for six years, less than half the 15-year minimum term sought by prosecutors.

2017 – Nov. 24 – The Supreme Court more than doubles Pistorius’ murder sentence to 13 years and five months, accepting state prosecutors’ argument that the original jail term was “shockingly lenient”.

2022 – June 22 – Pistorius meets Steenkamp’s father as part of a victim-offender dialogue – an integral part of South Africa’s restorative justice programme that brings parties affected by a crime together in a bid to achieve closure.

2023 – March 31 – Pistorius is denied parole after prison authorities say he has not served minimum detention period required.

The Department of Correctional Services says Pistorius is expected to have completed his minimum detention period in August 2024 and will become eligible to be considered for parole.

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