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Leigh Matthews' murderer Donovan Moodley to apply for parole

Leigh Matthews killer to stand before the parole board in a bid for freedom

21 January 2022 - 06:00 By GILL GIFFORD
Donovan Moodley pleaded guilty to the 2004 murder of student Leigh Matthews. He will apply for parole on Friday. File photo.
Donovan Moodley pleaded guilty to the 2004 murder of student Leigh Matthews. He will apply for parole on Friday. File photo.

After serving fewer than 17 years for kidnapping student Leigh Matthews and shooting her in the head with a hollow-point bullet, convicted murderer Donovan Moodley will apply for parole on Friday morning.

On July 25 2005 Moodley, who was then 24, told the Johannesburg high court he was guilty of murdering Leigh, that he had kidnapped her and taken a R50,000 ransom from her father.

He then order her to strip, cover herself with a blanket and turn away from him. He shot her in the head and another three times in the body.

The court found that Moodley had not been candid in his account that he killed her on the spot where her body was found 11 days later by a grass-cutter in Walkerville.

Judge Joop Labuschagne ruled that Moodley had not acted alone, and that he had hidden Leigh’s body in a cold storage facility before dumping her body along with the spent cartridges where they were found in the veld.

He sentenced Moodley to life for the murder, 15 years for kidnapping and another 10 for extortion. He began serving his sentence on August 4 2005.

However, in 2010 Moodley decided to change his plea and appeal against his life sentence in 2010. He gave a bizarre version of how it was he who was the real victim. He described being kidnapped by three men along with Leigh. They murdered her, he said, and forced him into making a false confession by threatening to murder his family.

His appeal was unanimously denied by the Constitutional Court.

Then, in March 2015, after being told that he was to be transferred to another prison, Moodley petitioned the courts.

He stated that at Diepkloof Prison he was comfortable in his single cell, and his family was close by. He was studying for a law degree, and receiving the medical care he needed for a developing diabetic condition and failing eye sight.

“It is submitted that it is most disturbing that I am seeking relief from this court when I should be studying. This is an unnecessary and callous distraction by the DCS [department of correctional services]. It is time consuming and mentally draining,” he wrote in his court papers.

Now, after serving less than 17 years, and after earning credits for good behaviour, Moodley will stand before the parole board at Johannesburg Medium B Prison at 9am and explain why he should be granted his freedom.

The Matthews family will be present. They will be opposing his request.



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