I am too clever, says Donovan Moodley

2012-01-25 22:39

Johannesburg - Convicted murderer Donovan Moodley argued in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday to be retried for the 2004 kidnap and murder of university student Leigh Matthews.

He was applying for a retrial - something without precedent in South African law - because he wanted to tell "this version of the truth, which I maintain to be the truth", he told the court.

He elected to represent himself.

Moodley repeatedly told the court that the way in which the crime was committed was "haphazard" and "quite stupid".

"That's not like me."

Details of the grisly crime

Moodley went into the details of the kidnapping, extortion, murder, and disposal of the body, and frequently said there were more efficient ways these could have been achieved.

By way of an example, he said: "It would be easier to move a body with rigor mortis rather than a body that wobbles."

Prosecutor Zaais van Zyl said Moodley's constant argument that he was "too clever" to have committed that particular crime indicated a familiarity with the events that heavily implied he was behind the crime.

"He is, with respect, too clever to have pleaded guilty if he didn't do it."

He said that when Moodley pleaded guilty, it was not up to the prosecution to disagree with him and try to prove him innocent.

Moodley said the former investigating officer in the case, Piet Byleveld, had forced a confession from him.


He claimed Byleveld tortured him during the interrogation and abused his power to ensure his conviction and lengthy prison sentence.

Wearing a dark suit several sizes too large for him, Moodley read an "exhaustive, all-truth bearing" affidavit to the court.

Judge Joop Labuschagne interrupted Moodley twice to remind him that he had already read the documents.

Moodley was found guilty in 2005 of murdering and kidnapping Matthews and of extorting money from her father, Rob Matthews.

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

Moodley said he initially told Byleveld and seven other policemen that three drug dealers, named Frank, Allie, and Jemba, orchestrated the kidnapping from the parking lot of Bond University on July 9 2004.

Moodley told the court Byleveld had stood on his chair and lifted his handcuffed arms up from behind.

"The pain was too much for me and I cried."

Byleveld then told Moodley that "I must say I did it alone".

This was because he could not direct the police to Frank, Allie, and Jemba, who he claimed had coerced him into helping them with the crime.

Moodley said the confession should have been made before a magistrate.

"[But] they knew I would tell the magistrate what was happening."

Took the blame to protect his family

Moodley said he had been too afraid that the drug dealers would harm his family if he implicated them, and so acquiesced and took the blame himself.

This was why he originally pleaded guilty, he said.

In an SMS Matthews was forced to send her parents, Moodley said she referred to her captors as "they", proving that he had not acted alone.

"But [the sms] was lost because it suits Byleveld's purpose."

Van Zyl said Moodley's claims against Byleveld should have been raised during the trial.

He said Wednesday's arguments were an admission by Moodley that he had repeatedly lied to the court under oath.

In his affidavit, Moodley also claimed that Matthews's father had changed his descriptions of her kidnapper.

"Rob Matthews changed his statement to say it was an Asian man with an Indian accent."

In no state to make a statement

Moodley claimed that Rob Matthews had previously described the man who collected the ransom as black with no accent.

"There was absolutely no way of convincing anyone that Mr Matthews's second statement was a lie," Moodley said.

This was because he was unaware at the time that Matthews had changed his description of the kidnapper.

It was only changed to match him after he was identified as a suspect, Moodley claimed.

Van Zyl said this was unfounded, as Matthews had said black - as opposed to white - rather than African in his first statement.

The statement was taken at a time when Matthews was "in no state" to make a statement as he was physically and emotionally exhausted after searching for his kidnapped daughter the whole night.

The fact that an Asian male was identified also did not point directly to Moodley, Van Zyl said.

Ransom money

Moodley also disputed that money deposited into his bank account was the ransom money.

"Again, I was a financial manager... I would not have made the mistake of depositing it into my account."

The money came from the sale of his BMW to fund his studies, Moodley said.

Van Zyl said it appeared that Moodley had nothing new to tell the court and that, as such, the court was unlikely to arrive at a different conclusion to that of his original trial.

He summarised Moodley's arguments on Wednesday as "I lied, I lied, I lied".

It was also telling that Moodley had been through three attorneys before deciding to represent himself, indicating that perhaps "nobody was prepared to go ahead with this preposterous story", he said.

Van Zyl ridiculed Moodley's argument that media interest in the case made had him appear guilty and had contributed to his receiving a harsher sentence.

"Nothing in the media could have induced him to plead guilty, in fact he confirmed details in court," he said.

Van Zyl dismissed Moodley's claims relating to Frank, Allie, and Jemba as "improbable".

"There is no evidence that the three musketeers were anything but ghosts."

The prosecution resumes its arguments on Thursday.

  • JohncarlosBiza - 2012-01-25 23:06

    He had 8 years to contemplate on the case. Ofcourse he's way cleverer now!

      Donovan - 2012-01-26 00:06

      Too clever by far. Too greedy, too arrogant, too psycho, too dangerous, too much. Get used to the cell, you human paraquat.

      Donovan - 2012-01-26 00:08

      Oh, and hey Smartypants, if you're such a genius, whatcha doin' inside?

      Squeegee - 2012-01-26 06:18

      Not clever,evil! He has no remorse and shows no compassion for her family.

      Mike - 2012-01-26 07:22

      This guy is really stupid. If he was clever he would have employed shaik and selabi as his lawyers. He would be out by now. - 2012-01-26 07:57

      If he is this clever why did it take him so long to see this was a set up??

      Cindy - 2012-01-26 12:10

      @ Martin, whether Moodley was a puppet or not is moot. He was an accomplice and shared a common purpose with the druglords/dealers/babboys and is thus deserving of his sentence. If he didnt tell the whole truth then and has taken 8 years to develop a conscience, tough luck to him, he is still guilty. If he was a decent human being he would be saying to the Matthews family, "here is the true story please get the police to re-open the case to drag these guys to court as well". This whole exercise is very self-serving and designed to inflict pain on the Matthews family, which probably makes Moodley a bit of a psychopath/sadist. No re-trial, let the SOB rot in gaol!

  • Dave - 2012-01-25 23:08

    Confine him in a garbage bin

      rbczovczov - 2012-01-26 08:32

      Why does this common criminal still get chance after chance to appeal and talk nonsense, rubbing it in to the family of his victim, making them relieve the loss of their daughter? This is clear abuse of the justice system. Lets lock him up and throw away the key and only revisit his case in 2099.

  • ReunionofIntelligentMinds - 2012-01-25 23:11

    Psychopath. He has more than enough time in prison to plot and plan all his lies and at the end might even believe them.

      Gordon - 2012-01-26 00:00

      Exactly. He cannot believe he has been caught and is no doubt spending his days trying to work out why the perfect crime did failed. He just cannot see his own arrogance. Suggested reading class: The Sociopath Next Door - check it out on amazon.

      louis.langenhoven - 2012-01-26 07:02

      @ Gordon - he is the author didn't you know?

      nasheenar - 2012-01-26 07:37

      Agreed, 8 years to think about the case and what to say at the next trial. Pitty Leigh doesnt get a second chance!!!

  • Ed - 2012-01-25 23:50

    If you do the crime, then you must do the time. Take it on the chin bud. Repent and die, [pay] for your sins.

      Matthew Patrick - 2012-01-26 00:00

      I bet he's taking lots of different things on the chin!

  • wilma.botts - 2012-01-25 23:56

    Yes so clever is he.....if he was scared his family would be hurt if he implicated the drug dealers !! have they left the country now that he can name them in the terrible crime he was found guilty of doing...

  • Tian - 2012-01-26 00:44

    Obviously too clever to get convicted in the first place...

  • Chris - 2012-01-26 02:18

    Bring the death Penalty back too south africa! Get rid of the rubbish that seem to plague our beautiful lands!

  • Deeteem - 2012-01-26 05:13

    Too clever ? Then why you wearing an orange suit ?

  • Silvana - 2012-01-26 06:09

    Did the devil spawn this delusional fool? It must be awful knowing that you gave birth to this thing.

  • Ian - 2012-01-26 06:11

    ok you not so clever dumb moron, is it ok for the 3 gang bangers to take out your family now, listen moodley you excuse for human filth, there are no drug dealers because after you murdererd poor Leigh you took the money and went and had a holiday with your girlfriend who more than likely assisted you, you even gave her Leighs ring so who are you trying to BS, you are not clever at all in fact malema is a rocket scientist compared to scum like you, you are as thick as mud and should have been expeleld from this planet 7 years ago, hope you get taken out, in fact why dont you do us all a favour and take yourself out, die already, we dont want you here, hope they shank you

      Ruth - 2012-01-26 09:32

      Hi Ian. I agree with everything you say, but factually, he DID NOT give his girlfriend Leigh's ring. He went back to her charred clothes, retrieved the ring and kept it in his bedroom. He did, however, buy his girlfriend a ring with the ransom money.

  • godesha - 2012-01-26 06:13

    No way I will admit to a crime I did not commit, not even if they torture me to death. If he was not guilty, then why plead guilty? Having said that, my thoughts are that he did not act alone, but he was the mastermind.

  • clinton.bowden1 - 2012-01-26 06:18

    It seems to me a clever person would not have even attempted such a crime or gotten involved with drug dealers. ITs all about choices chosing the right one is the clever thing to do. Nothing clever in what has happened. Sorry Donovan but too many lies, how are we to believe you now

  • Wesley - 2012-01-26 06:20

    Mr Modley, when were you lying, then or now, why must we believe you

  • Gerhard - 2012-01-26 06:30

    All stupidity will be punished. Point in case.

  • Michelle - 2012-01-26 06:33

    Moodley's arrogance astounds me. It is all about "me, me, me" Why was he not concerned about his family before he supposedly helped the drug dealers to kidnap Leigh? Rot in hell you disgusting filth!!!!!!

      Ian - 2012-01-26 07:06

      couldnt have said it better, what angers me the most is after all the heartache and tears we are all left with nothing but anger while he sits in the media spotlight (tries to anyway) I hope after this he will get taken out in prison, we dont need this filth amongst us

  • Zion - 2012-01-26 06:33

    It has become clear that this guy needs psychiatric treatment when reading his rantings and his superiority complex.

      Elle-Black - 2012-01-26 07:45

      I fully i agree he does need psychiatric treatment

  • Breinlekkasie - 2012-01-26 06:38

    Yes, we can see he is "too clever" that is why he is stuck behind bars. To get away with a crime one needs to be smarter than the cops and most people around you. However if you are that smart you are smart enough to out perform almost anyone in the job market deeming crime unnecessary. So if one ever feels the urge to commit a crime then you should also realize that you are probably not smart enough to get away with it.

      Zion - 2012-01-26 15:17

      It is seldom that a clever or highly intelligent criminal rises out of the gutter. Had there been one then he would have realised the investigative methods are high tech and his chances are negligible. A classic case is Selebi and Schaik. Irony of the matter is Selebi could have made a clean sweep if he employed mentalities higher than his own. Ultimately he is nothing more than a crook.

  • muriel.farquharson - 2012-01-26 06:59

    If you are so clever, how did you let yourself be duped in this way. Chop.

  • Ken - 2012-01-26 07:09

    Moodley, You are not clever. You are an arrogant and delusional idiot.

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-01-26 07:10

    reminds me of that song, what was it again? I'm too clever for my jail too clever for my jail sooo clever it hurts.... ye right, said Fred

  • malcolm - 2012-01-26 07:10

    I have little doubt that Moodley was involved, and prison is the correct place for him. I still believe that others were involved, and hope they too are brought to justice.

  • Francois Petzer - 2012-01-26 07:12

    atleast he's not trying medical parole yet. . .if there had been real justice in sa he'd had been hung 7yrs ago,but ya. . .let him waste more o taxpayers m0ney

  • andrez.kolesky - 2012-01-26 07:12

    All the clever people are living on the outside, you self-righteous PRICK!!

  • raegan.mcreed - 2012-01-26 07:18

    and the saga continues of the never ending story, all bollocks , the oke is tired of being raped and picking up soap daily, i suppose he has taken to many schlongs up his choc box ,and now he is desperate and will say anything since papa received his prescription of viagra.... dont pillay with papa cos if he gets moodley he will naidoo

      Matthew Patrick - 2012-01-26 08:06


  • Johann.vanderWalt2 - 2012-01-26 07:19

    What is this guy gabbling on about? Let the insect carve out IQ scores on his cell wall until the day he dies

  • Henri James Christie - 2012-01-26 07:32

    Why, oh why don't we have a death penalty. We would have been spared this prick's arrogance!!

  • allen.visser - 2012-01-26 07:41

    This clown is guilty but its time that he gave up his accomplices. Its only fair the others involved get their chance to bend over to pick up the soap..

  • Jadé Pretorius - 2012-01-26 07:45

    somebody needs to take this idiot out...

  • Neil - 2012-01-26 07:47

    Everything Moodley has said indicated he is the killer ! He has proven he plotted the entire murder and now he seems to think that because he is Indian he can get away with it. Maybe his pal Shabir Shaik gave him some advice !!!! I hope you get raped with a broomstick you scumbag ! May Leigh's ghost haunt you and your family for eternity !!!

      karen.ramsamy - 2012-07-26 10:12

      yes he is guilty.... from the word go i knew that this scum was the master mind behind the murder... but what does "indian" have to do wud anything,,,

  • Michael Kleber - 2012-01-26 07:54

    trying to negotiate your way out , i think you are a pathological liar and the courts should not even entertain your applications , jail too good for you should be the noose .

  • raymond.kok3 - 2012-01-26 08:00

    you my friend is p.........g in the wind it will never be reopened you are done for accept it and go lay next to pappa

  • Charlie - 2012-01-26 08:03

    Why give this idiot airtime! THAT is why he's doing this in the first place!!

  • John - 2012-01-26 08:08

    "Moodley said the confession should have been made before a magistrate". Hello.. didn't you do that in court? And you had months in which to do it as well...

  • Bennie - 2012-01-26 08:09

    Why are we still wasting money on this donkey?

  • Michelle - 2012-01-26 08:30

    If he is so clever, he should have plead insanity because that is probably the closest thing to the truth - this idiot is deranged, mad, bossies, whatever with major delusions of grandeur!

  • Showerhead Zooma - 2012-01-26 08:37

    Looks like he's tired if being the prison bitch. LOL

  • Patrick - 2012-01-26 09:03


  • Thandi - 2012-01-26 09:03

    So clever that you landed in jail, you dumb twat.

  • Bokfan - 2012-01-26 09:06

    All strength to the Matthews for having to endure this additional torture. It is to me unthinkable that the state is so baffled by its bureaucracy as to allow this continued victim-abuse. Especially since it is unprecedented. Hopefully such a travesty will NEVER BE REPEATED. Shame on the system for allowing it.

  • Sechaba - 2012-01-26 09:24

    Van Zyl said this was unfounded, as Matthews had said black - as opposed to white - rather than African in his first statement ----------------------------------- someone please help me understand the above statement

      Perfume5 - 2012-01-26 12:18

      I am trying to figure that out myself, hopefully someone will be able to decode it lol

  • Ruth - 2012-01-26 09:30

    Byleveld always maintained he never acted alone, and he suspected his fiance and others to be involved. Byleveld even suspected a mortuary that one of Moodley's uncles as the place where the body was stored, and when he started investigating it, the mortuary suddenly closed down. He was devastated that only Moodley was convicted when he firmly believes there were more people involved... so why would Byleveld torture him to say he did it alone. The man is a sociopath, a murderer and a liar. When he wants to tell the real truth, no one will believe him either, as he has cried wolf too many times. There are so many of his "versions" of the truth he probably doesn't know the truth himself anymore.

      Linda - 2012-01-26 13:00

      Excellent comment, Ruth.

  • Jacqui - 2012-01-26 09:59

    If he is so clever why is he behind bars then?. Put him back in his cell and throw away the keys.

  • Glenda - 2012-01-26 10:06

    Sigh. What a waste of good court time. I feel for the Matthews family - this ordeal should be over and done with and something we don't have to re-live in the media. It was a sick act however he was involved. I'd like this case dismissed with costs.

  • Kevin - 2012-01-26 10:09

    You're a moron and an embarrasment

  • Cina - 2012-01-26 10:13

    Seeing that he agreed he lied in the original case he should actually stay longer in jail just for that.

  • Comrade - 2012-01-26 10:20

    LOL now this is an oxymoron!!

  • Renette - 2012-01-26 10:22

    Why would anyone still give this idiot time in court to listen to his ridiculous statements? Surely they wasted enough time on him already.

      martir02 - 2012-01-26 11:14

      Desi de rata Renette...

  • martir02 - 2012-01-26 10:28

    For some or other reasons I think there is substance to this allegations, question is do we have security agents that are intelligent enough to unpack this matter?

      Sharon - 2012-01-26 10:58

      Brad Nathanson Investigations ....he is the man

  • Terco - 2012-01-26 10:40

    .......This guy is another sociopath through and through.........

  • jamesbond - 2012-01-26 10:43