Oscar Pistorius will be given 24-hour police protection if he is freed next month on parole after detectives were told he faces threats to his life, MailOnline can reveal on the 10th anniversary of Reeva Steenkamp’s murder.
The 36-year-old may be released within weeks after serving half of his 13-year sentence for murdering Steenkamp, his girlfriend at the time.
But police in Johannesburg have received information that he will become a target for gangsters out to avenge the slaying of a young woman.
The athlete, who had a stash of 10 firearms including an AK-47, had already come on to the radar of Johannesburg’s underworld for threatening one of the city’s notorious hardmen.
Pistorius, known as The Blade Runner after his racing prosthetic, had blasted a gun from a car sunroof and fired a handgun in a restaurant a few weeks before he killed 29-year-old Reeva, which brought him further into the underworld focus.
Oscar Pistorius (right in 2012) will be given 24-hour police protection if he is freed from jail next month on parole after detectives were told that he faces threats to his life when he is freed, MailOnline can reveal on the 10th anniversary of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp (left)
During his trial, Johannesburg hardman and former professional footballer Marc Batchelor was a prosecution witness and a menacing figure in the public gallery as he told of his contempt for the athlete.
Batchelor was threatened by Pistorius, who said he would ‘break his legs’ over a dispute over a woman. Batchelor had also been a friend of Reeva’s and called for a life sentence for the athlete.
He was known to have underworld friends, including one who had killed a businessman and others who worked as hired assassins.
But Batchelor was shot dead by two masked gunmen in his car outside his home in Olivedale, Johannesburg, three years ago in what police believe was an organised hit. No arrests have been made and the murder has not been connected to Pistorius.
But detectives understand Pistorius’s name is being circulated among the city’s underworld and contract killers.
Officers will liaise with his family as to how best to keep him safe from harm once he wins his freedom and offer their support.
A police source told MailOnline: ‘Pistorius killed a young woman and that in itself is a major no-no as far as Johannesburg’s criminal fraternity is concerned.
‘He had also threatened Batchelor who still has many friends in the city and who have a huge distaste for Oscar Pistorius.
Oscar Pistorius holds his head in his hands during the hearing of his murder trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, on March 13, 2014
Johannesburg hardman and former professional footballer Marc Batchelor (pictured during the trial in 2014) was a prosecution witness and cut a menacing figure in the public gallery as he told of his contempt for the athlete known as The Blade Runner
‘Oscar is a murderer, but once he has served his sentence, he should be able to re-build his life and live safely.
‘The police do not, of course, have any liking of murderers but they deserve full protection from any harm and that is what he will be given.
‘South Africa cannot afford to have any more violence connected to Pistorius and police will work very hard to ensure his safety.
‘We have received information that there are people who say he deserved to pay for killing a young woman.’
Today marks the tenth anniversary of the day Pistorius killed Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, in his flat.
He claimed to have mistaken Reeva for an intruder, shooting her through the bathroom door.
Her parents were throwing flowers into the Indian Ocean near their home in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, at the same spot where her ashes were immersed and close to the beach where she played as a child.
Speaking to ITV on the 10th anniversary of his daughter’s death, Reeva’s father Barry (left, with wife June) opened up about going to meet Pistorius in prison
The South African athlete, nicknamed Blade Runner after his racing prosthetics, is serving a 13-year sentence for the infamous murder on Valentine’s Day 2013, when he claimed to have mistaken Reeva for an intruder, shooting her through the bathroom door
Speaking to ITV on Tuesday on the 10th anniversary of his daughter’s death, Reeva’s father Barry opened up about going to meet Pistorius in prison.
He said he hoped that the murderer was feeling remorse ‘matching anybody who has been in prison, that you have killed or murdered somebody’.
‘There’s always a remorse after that, excepting for the odd person who doesn’t care or anything. But I’m sure that he did have remorse after shooting Reeva,’ he said.
But Barry said when he spoke to Pistorius, he did not get the answers he was hoping for about the motivation behind his daughter’s death.
‘When I went to the [prison] and met Oscar, I asked him certain questions. All June and I wanted to know was the truth, that what we feel was the truth – that he actually killed her because of anger,’ he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
‘I didn’t get the answer that I wanted. So, you know, it didn’t take very long. It could have taken us the whole day at the prison, but it was shortened by me stating that we aren’t getting the answers that we want, and we’ll leave it at that.
‘And that we leave to Oscar. Only Oscar knows the true story,’ Barry said.