South African Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius was refused parole on Friday after seeking early release from prison, a decade after he shot and killed his girlfriend, lawyers, and authorities said.
The Department of Correctional Services said a parole board found Pistorius had not completed the minimum detention period required to be let out.
“We were… advised at this point in time that it has been denied” and it will be considered again in one year’s time, Tania Koen, a lawyer for the victim’s family, told AFP.
The motivation came as a surprise as the correctional services had previously said Pistorius was eligible for early release having served more than half his sentence.
Pistorius killed Reeva Steenkamp, a model, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013, firing four times through the bathroom door of his ultra-secure Pretoria house, in a killing that shocked the world.
A parole hearing opened Friday morning at the jail on the outskirts of the capital where the 36-year-old is detained.
Steenkamp’s parents, who opposed an early release, saying they do not believe the ex-athlete told the truth about what happened and has not shown remorse, welcomed the decision.
“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,” they said in a statement via their lawyer.
Earlier, Steenkamp’s mother, June, had made the couple’s position known to the board addressing the hearing in person.
“I don’t believe his story,” she told journalists from the back of a car as she arrived at the correctional facility.
She did not meet face to face with her daughter’s killer on Friday, as the parole board decided to hear the two separately, Koen later told reporters outside the prison.
“It was very unpleasant for her… but she knew that she had to do it for Reeva,” Koen said.
Steenkamp’s father Barry was unable to travel because of ill health but submitted a statement, she added.