The pressing inquiry remains unresolved: Was Oscar Pistorius aware that his girlfriend was the target of his gunfire?

by Ryan Lee
Oscar Pistorius Case

A decade has passed since Oscar Pistorius fired four rounds from his 9mm pistol, fatally wounding his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the head and body as she was enclosed in a locked toilet cubicle within his residence. Yet, the crucial question persists unanswered: Was the globally renowned Paralympic and Olympic sprinter conscious that he was shooting his girlfriend on that fateful Valentine’s Day in 2013?

Pistorius has consistently maintained his innocence, asserting that he mistook her for an intruder in his home. Contrarily, Steenkamp’s family is convinced that he deliberately shot the 29-year-old model and law graduate amid an argument that night.

The truth of Pistorius’ actions is known solely to him, and it may forever remain a mystery to others.

The enduring enigma of Pistorius’ case, which captured global attention and recently resurfaced with his parole approval, lies in the fact that even his murder conviction has not resolved the persisting doubt.

Pistorius is set for parole release a decade following the incident. He is scheduled to leave prison on January 5, remaining under official surveillance until the completion of his 13-year, five-month murder sentence in December 2029, as stated by the Department of Corrections. Pistorius, who recently turned 37, will have served almost nine years in prison upon his release. In South Africa, serious offenders are required to fulfill at least half of their sentence before parole eligibility.

Despite having his lower legs amputated in infancy, Pistorius emerged as a celebrated athlete. He was ultimately convicted of murder for Steenkamp’s shooting under the legal principle of ‘dolus eventualis’, implying his awareness that the shooting through the bathroom door in his Pretoria home would likely result in death, regardless of the victim’s identity. This principle is akin to third-degree murder in the United States.

However, the Supreme Court of Appeal’s ruling, which overturned an initial manslaughter conviction, did not conclude that Pistorius knew he was shooting Steenkamp nor intended her death. It also rejected his claim of self-defense against a perceived threat.

The verdict represents a compromise, extending Pistorius’ imprisonment beyond the original five-year manslaughter sentence. However, it leaves a sense of final resolution out of reach, particularly for Steenkamp’s family.

During Pistorius’ parole hearing in Pretoria, a statement by Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, June, was conveyed outside the prison. June Steenkamp, represented by family friend Rob Matthews, expressed her unending grief and loneliness following another loss—the death of her husband and Reeva’s father, Barry Steenkamp, in September. June believes Pistorius has not been truthful about the murder, yet she has found forgiveness, as harboring anger would be unbearable.

June Steenkamp remarked on her unfulfilled dreams for Reeva, who was also an advocate against violence towards women in South Africa—ironically foreshadowing her own demise.

“Were our dreams for Reeva fulfilled? Of course not,” she stated, expressing doubt about Pistorius’ rehabilitation and yearning for his honest confession someday.

Matthews, a fellow bereaved parent, emphasized the parole grant’s timing, coinciding with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Upon release, Pistorius will reside in his uncle’s mansion in a prestigious Pretoria suburb, with much of his life still ahead, although his once-admired reputation is irreparably damaged.

Tania Koen, representing the Steenkamp family, summed it up earlier this year regarding Pistorius’ potential release. She noted that no length of imprisonment would compensate the Steenkamps for their loss, equating it to a lifelong sentence.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Oscar Pistorius Case

Was Oscar Pistorius aware he was shooting his girlfriend?

The question of whether Oscar Pistorius knew he was shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, remains unanswered. Pistorius claimed he mistook her for an intruder, while Steenkamp’s family believes it was intentional. The legal ruling did not definitively resolve this aspect.

What was the outcome of Oscar Pistorius’ trial?

Oscar Pistorius was ultimately convicted of murder under the legal principle of ‘dolus eventualis’, meaning he should have foreseen that shooting through the door would likely kill whoever was behind it. This conviction did not, however, establish that he knew he was shooting Steenkamp.

How long is Oscar Pistorius’ prison sentence?

Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to a 13-year, five-month term for murder. He will have served just under nine years when released on parole.

What has been the impact on Reeva Steenkamp’s family?

Reeva Steenkamp’s family, particularly her mother June, has expressed enduring pain and loneliness, coupled with a belief that Pistorius has not been truthful about the incident. The family continues to grieve, having never achieved full closure.

What does Oscar Pistorius’ parole entail?

Upon his parole release, Oscar Pistorius will be monitored by officials until the end of his sentence in December 2029. He will live at his uncle’s mansion in an affluent suburb of Pretoria. His parole does not equate to an acknowledgment of rehabilitation or confession.

More about Oscar Pistorius Case

  • Oscar Pistorius Trial Overview
  • Reeva Steenkamp’s Family Reaction
  • Legal Principle of Dolus Eventualis
  • South African Parole System
  • Impact of Violent Crimes on Families

You may also like


JohnDoe November 24, 2023 - 11:46 pm

Really comprehensive article but it seems to miss some key points about Pistorius’ early life? How did his disability affect his case?

JaneSmith November 25, 2023 - 3:11 am

i think the article couldve focused more on Reeva and her life, not just her death, She was more than just a victim

SaraK November 25, 2023 - 3:49 am

good read but felt a bit too long, could’ve been more concise esp. on the legal aspects, not everyone’s a lawyer here!

Mike_1990 November 25, 2023 - 11:47 am

theres a typo in the paragraph about the legal stuff, should be “dolus eventualis” not “dolus eventalis”


Leave a Comment


BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News