I was totally afraid and freaked out – Moodley

2012-01-26 14:21

Convicted murderer Donovan Moodley did not call the police after Leigh Matthews’ body was discovered because he was afraid.

“I was sitting at home watching the media coverage on television,” Moodley said in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg today.

“The reason I did not go to the police was (that) I was totally afraid and freaked out.”

Moodley was found guilty in 2005 of Matthews’ murder and kidnapping and extortion from her father.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, 15 years for kidnapping and 10 years for extortion.

Moodley lodged an application for a retrial yesterday, representing himself.

His argument rests on a claim that three Nigerian drug dealers – Frank, Allie and Jemba – kidnapped Matthews and murdered her.

Moodley said former investigating officer Piet Byleveld forced him to say he had done it alone because he could not lead police to the three.

Evidence found in Matthews’ car was tampered with.

Moodley claimed a lottery ticket with his fingerprint on it was faked to frame him. “There is no lotto ticket in the police’s inventory.”

A footprint, allegedly belonging to Frank, was destroyed or lost by police.

This proved that “all the hullabaloo I have made about the confession is indeed true”, Moodley said.

Earlier, prosecutor Zaais van Zyl argued that Moodley was afforded the opportunity to tell the court if he had been coerced into making the confession in the original trial.

“He was asked, have you read the statement? Do you understand the statement? Do you plead guilty of your own free will?” Van Zyl quoted from the 2005 transcript.

Van Zyl said Moodley had the chance then to tell his version of the truth, if he had lied originally.

“He makes the sweeping statement that everything he needs was destroyed by Byleveld. There is absolutely no proof that it ever existed.”

Moodley said the statement he gave when pleading guilty in the trial was not corroborated by the police investigation.

“I was a young defenceless man who was crushed by the weight of the State.”

Moodley said his home, including cupboards and two deep freezers where a body could have been hidden, were never searched or forensically tested.

“The public have been led to believe that something has been investigated that never was.”

In Moodley’s rebuttal of Van Zyl’s arguments against a retrial, he said the State’s only answer to his arguments yesterday was that they were improbable.

“There are many improbable stories out there in the world that are true.”

He said he wished he could tell the story of his alleged false prosecution on the Oprah Winfrey show.

“History is replete with innocent men being burnt at the stake. I saw an entire Oprah show about similar cases.”

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