‘Byleveld was after a bonus’

2009-12-23 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Top detective ­Piet Byle­veld wanted the Leigh Matthews murder case in 2004 to “be finished as quickly as possible, because he would receive a special bonus for that”.

Thus states Donovan Moodley, Matthews’s murderer, in court documents submitted to the Supreme Court of Appeal yesterday.

Moodley is seeking leave to appeal Judge Joop Labuschagne’s recent refusal in the high court in Johannesburg of leave to appeal. Among other things, Moodley wants a retrial.

In his papers, he says Byleveld was “under great financial pressure” and had his eye on the bonus for the arrest of a person related to the murder”.

“This situation influenced him improperly and he manipulated the investigation towards me.”

Byleveld said yesterday that because the case is sub judice , he cannot comment. “But what I can say, is this: I find the statements ridiculous.”

Moodley says one of the reasons why he wants a retrial is that he wants a chance to prove that “other people” were involved in the kidnapping of Matthews.

He says, as in his application earlier this year before Labuschagne, that the judge did not fulfil his judicial duty by making sure Moodley understood what he admitted to in his plea agreement when the trial started in 2005.

He contends that Labuschagne did not try to ascertain that he planned the murder. Moodley says he shot Matthews “because I didn’t know how else to get rid of her”. He contends that this means it wasn’t a premeditated murder.

“Only when I considered how to let Ms Matthews go free, after I received the ransom money, I realised it could not be done. I made the decision there and then to shoot her, and I did end up shooting her.”

He says the fact that he had a firearm on him on the day of the murder simply means he could use it to suppress “any defiance” from her, if she were to fight back, and does not prove he planned the murder.

In any case, he feels his sentence of life is “shocking” and that he should have been given 15 years in prison.

Judge Lex Mpati, president of the Supreme Court of Appeal, will refer Moodley’s application to two appeal judges for consideration.

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