‘Drug dealers did it’ — Moodley

2011-07-23 00:00

DONOVAN Moodley, serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and murder of student Leigh Matthews seven years ago, now claims he was forced to help abduct her and only watched as someone else shot her dead.

In an application to the high court in Johannesburg for a retrial, Moodley claims that three drug dealers, who he names as Frank, Allie and Jemba, forced him to help them abduct another student from the Bond University campus in Sandton.

A certain Gasper, an acquaintance of Moodley’s, was a drug user, and the dealers threatened to harm Moodley and his family if he did not help them abduct Gasper.

“On July 9, 2004, they informed me the plan had changed and they were going to take someone else and I must sit in the car and wait … A few minutes later, Leigh came down the stairs. Frank and Allie followed her to the car and grabbed her,” Moodley claims in his 323-page affidavit.

Moodley says he was told to go with Frank and get rid of Matthews’s car near the campus, and they later met up with Allie, Jemba and Matthews again.

Frank phoned Matthews’s parents and demanded a R300 000 ransom.

After this was handed over, he was forced to watch while Jemba shot Matthews, the document says.

“Jemba shot Leigh from behind … She was naked and fell over like a brick. He then dragged her into the bushes and fired another three shots.

“I was scared they would shoot me too. I fell to my knees and pleaded for my life. They put Leigh’s clothes in my car and told me with many threats to drive off.”

He said the next morning he wasn’t thinking straight and burnt the clothes.

“Days went by and I wanted to go to the police, but I was scared. Reports in the media unnerved me. I couldn’t lead the police to Frank, Allie and Jemba, so I just wished it would all go away.”

Matthews’s naked body was found 12 days later in long grass in the Walkerville Manor area south of Johannesburg.

During Moodley’s trial there was talk that one or more people helped him hide Matthews’s body, but he admitted guilt and never implicated anyone else.

Last year, the 11 Constitutional Court judges refused him leave to appeal against his sentence.

In his latest application, Moodley accuses investigating officer Brigadier Piet Byleveld of interference.

He claims Byleveld changed dates to support his story, manipulated key witnesses, destroyed and fabricated evidence and used the media.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Charlene Labuschagne said the NPA has received Moodley application and will consider it. The NPA has two weeks to file their response.

Byleveld said yesterday that Moodley is “grasping at straws”.

“There was damning evidence against him. He’s making a circus of the justice system.”

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