Jailed Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has been transferred to a prison adapted for disabled inmates to serve the rest of his sentence for murdering his girlfriend, a South African official said Monday.
The Department of Correctional Services said the double amputee was moved from Kgosi Mampuru II prison in the capital Pretoria to Atteridgeville Correctional Centre, just outside the city.
“The transfer was in line with his special needs,” department spokesman Singabakho Nxumalo told AFP.
“The new prison caters for people with special needs, it has been revamped to include facilities like bath tubs.”
The smaller facility holds convicts serving sentences of up to six years.
In July, Pistorius, 29, was given a six-year jail term after an appeals court upgraded his manslaughter conviction to murder.
He had been earlier given a five-year jail term and was released on parole after one year.
State prosecutors are still battling to lengthen his sentence, which they have described as “shockingly lenient and disturbingly inappropriate”.
The former Paralympic hero shot dead Reeva Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013.
The “Blade Runner”, as he was known, has always maintained that he mistook her for an intruder when he fired four high-calibre bullets through a locked toilet cubicle in his upmarket home in Pretoria.
The South African government news service said Pistorius had requested the transfer, adding that work to renovate the Atteridgeville centre began in May and was not linked to his case.
– ‘Pay for his crime’ –
At Pistorius’ sentencing, High Court judge Thokozile Masipa said a mitigating factor for giving him less than the 15-year term for murder included his claim he believed he was shooting an intruder.
“He cannot be at peace. I’m of the view that a long term of imprisonment will not serve justice,” Masipa said.
At an earlier hearing, a sobbing Pistorius hobbled on his stumps across the courtroom to demonstrate his physical vulnerability.
His lawyers argued he should not be returned to jail on account of an anxiety disorder and depression.
But Steenkamp’s father Barry told the court that he wanted Pistorius to “pay for his crime”.
The Supreme Court of Appeal last year ruled he was guilty of murder, irrespective of who was behind the door when he opened fire with the pistol he kept under his bed.
The year before he killed Steenkamp, Pistorius became the first double-amputee to race at Olympic level when he appeared at the London 2012 games.
While on parole he gave a television interview saying that an “instant fear” drove him to grab his gun and walk on his stumps towards the bathroom.
“All of a sudden I hear a noise, at the toilet. I presumed it was the toilet door opening and, before I knew it, I’d fired four shots,” he said.