News24

Piet Byl has not given up on Leigh

2010-08-04 22:45

Johannesburg – Donovan Moodley, who murdered Johannesburg student Leigh Matthews, finally reached the end of the road in his application for appeal against his life sentence on Wednesday.

Chief judge Sandile Ngcobo and the other 10 judges of the Constitutional Court unanimously denied Moodley’s application.

They said success with such an appeal had no chance of succeeding.

Now there are no further legal avenues to which Moodley can turn.

With this, the Constitutional Court has brought an end to one of the most high-profile legal sagas in recent times.

Moodley initially admitted guilt in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to kidnapping Matthews, receiving a ransom from her father and then, “on the spur of the moment” shooting her in the head in a deserted area outside Johannesburg.

Then Moodley had a complete change of heart, saying he wanted a retrial. This was refused. The appeals court also denied his application for appeal.

Murder not planned

Moodley was not trying to appeal his guilty verdict in the Constitutional Court, but said that, instead of a life sentence, he should only have been given a 15-year prison sentence, since Matthews’ murder had not been planned.

Statutes determine that a killer who plans the murder qualifies for a life sentence, while an unplanned murder can be punished with a maximum of 15 years.

The Constitutional Court also ordered on Wednesday that Moodley pay the legal costs of the application for appeal.

Retired police officer Piet Byleveld, who investigated the case from the time when Moodley was arrested, said in response on Wednesday that he hopes Moodley now “settles down and accepts his fate”.

Although he is retired, he still believes Moodley was helped by accomplices.

“I’ll quietly continue to look for those accomplices during my retirement.”