Moodley shows no emotion as verdict read

2012-02-01 14:34

Johannesburg – Convicted murderer Donovan Moodley showed no emotion or surprise as the judge read his verdict denying a retrial of Leigh Matthews’ murder case.

"The applicant's version was far-fetched and fanciful," the judge said, denying Moodley's application in the South Gauteng High Court for his conviction to be set aside, or for a retrial.

"He also cannot explain why he burned the clothes he was wearing."

This implied he wanted to destroy the evidence, Labuschagne said.

Self-confessed liar

"I am satisfied that the applicant's version cannot be true. He is a self-confessed liar."

Labuschagne dismissed Moodley's claims about the drug dealers he claimed were responsible for the crime. His story was "riddled with improbabilities".

"For more than five years he confirmed his confession. How can anyone believe that an intelligent, innocent man can plead guilty?"

Moodley showed no emotion or surprise as Labuschagne read his verdict.

Moodley filed his application nearly six years after the sentence was passed. The deadline for such applications is usually 14 days after sentencing.


This was an important aspect as "certainty and finality" were needed in the criminal justice system, Labuschagne said.

In 2005, Moodley was found guilty of the murder and kidnapping of university student Leigh Matthews, 21, and of extorting money from her father.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, 15 years for kidnapping, and 10 years for extortion. He has been in prison ever since.

Matthews was kidnapped from the parking lot of Johannesburg's Bond University on Friday July 9 2004.

Her father received a call from her cellphone, in which he was told to meet the kidnappers and pay a ransom. He delivered R50 000 to the kidnapper, but his daughter was not handed over.

On Wednesday, July 21 2004 Matthews' body was found by a grass cutter in the veld in Walkerville, south of Johannesburg.

Frightened into kidnapping

Although it was never forensically proven, there were indications her body had been kept in cold storage.

Moodley began his application for a retrial last Wednesday, choosing to represent himself. His argument rested on his claim that three Nigerian drug dealers, Frank, Allie and Jemba, orchestrated the kidnapping and murder.

The three had frightened Moodley into agreeing to kidnap another student named as Gasper, but had decided to kidnap someone else instead when Gasper did not appear. This was when Matthews was kidnapped, Moodley said.

Moodley said the drug dealers took his gun and left it in the back of his car with some of Leigh's clothes after the murder. In panic, Moodley burnt the clothes, as well as those he wore on the night of the kidnapping, he said.

He said he had not put forward this "version of the truth" before because police forced him to say he had committed the crime alone and because he was afraid the drug dealers would target his family.

Moodley claimed former investigating officer Piet Byleveld had manipulated evidence and forced a confession to frame him.

Labuschagne rebuked Moodley for attempting to discredit Byleveld and prosecutor Zaais van Zyl.

Disrespectful and cruel

If Moodley's claims were true, "why do we only hear about [this alleged] police brutality six years after the event?"

Under oath Moodley had told the court he made the confession of his own free will, a point Van Zyl raised in court last Thursday. Labuschagne said Van Zyl was highly respected and experienced.

"In my view [Moodley's affidavit] was a desperate attempt not to reveal the truth but to run away from it."

Moodley also claimed that Leigh's father Rob had changed his description of the kidnapper to match his profile. Labuschagne took exception to this, saying: "This allegation, in my view, is disrespectful and cruel, to say the least."

He said it was common procedure for witnesses to make more than one statement and to expand descriptions of suspects.

Haunted by questions

Outside the court, Byleveld dismissed Moodley's allegations of a conspiracy against him, but said he was certain Matthews died shortly after she was kidnapped.

"But we will always have questions," he said.

Leigh's mother Sharon, said she was haunted by questions about the crime.

"We don't know the last 12 days where she was left."

Rob Matthews said there were "lots of half-truths" surrounding her death.

Sharon Matthews said she was thrilled the investigation into her daughter's death was still open.

"We still talk about her every day; we think about her every day."

Asked if he was confident this would be the last time Moodley would try to exonerate himself, Van Zyl said: "Not confident at all. We expect to see him again."

  • Ian - 2012-02-01 14:41

    well of course not, he is totally without any emotion or remorse, he is a cold blooded killer, tell you one thing though, if faced with the death penalty he would go to his death screaming and yelling like a baby

      procold2 - 2012-02-01 15:17

      Agree, no soul either, imagine him walking to the gallows, between breaths and screams he would loose his bowles halfway. hope they get rid of him in prison.

      Willie - 2012-02-01 15:21

      Hahahaha nice try couzee! Now brace yourself if you thought Kimberley had a big hole.....those Nigerians are going to turn you into their little bitch!

      Jack - 2012-02-01 15:26

      My he rot in jail, anyway with scum!!!

      Kala - 2012-02-01 16:42

      I also showed no surprise when the verdict was read out. How could anyone in their right mind expect a different ruling. Its such a waste of time.

  • jhavenga1 - 2012-02-01 14:42


  • Kobus - 2012-02-01 14:45

    Now please lock him up for good and through away the case. Dont want to hear about him again :(

  • Bryan - 2012-02-01 14:46

    Get your murdering ass back in that prison cell.

      David - 2012-02-01 15:16

      He's back to being Papa's "wife"... for life.

      Elizabeth - 2012-02-01 15:54

      looks like hes on a diet he looks terrible

  • Dianne - 2012-02-01 14:49

    Scum bucket !!!!!

  • lisa.evansdominick - 2012-02-01 14:52

    this sicko even gave his then girlfriend the ring he stole off Leigh's finger after he murdered her.... the ring was given to leigh by her parents as a 21st birthday present.

  • thozi - 2012-02-01 14:58

    Not surprised at all, cold-blooded killers don't show emotions - if they have any at all.

  • kiri - 2012-02-01 15:04

    if there's a 14 day deadline for applications, why was his application granted after 6 years?

  • raegan.mcreed - 2012-02-01 15:24

    i think frank, allie and jemba are the guys busting his choc box in jail, so he concocted this whole plan and used their names to make them famous in prison....this fool is a

  • Sibo - 2012-02-01 15:30

    Byveld is hiding something this story is full of questions. why would he come out now for a re-trial...this is dogdy...

      Barbara - 2012-02-01 15:45

      it is a known fact psycopaths love to relive the crime and re-invent their participation in it. They lie, they tell the truth, then lie again. It is all about themselves and the publicity they can get. They have no remorse, for either the victim or the victim's family. Also, they can't stand to be locked up or disciplined or told they are wrong. No, is not an option to them - it is all about control. Such people as this should not be let out in society and even less should their ugly egos be fed. Unfortunately, as Adv van Zyl said - "Moodley will be back" with a new twist and story.

  • dlawre30 - 2012-02-01 15:38

    I cant't believe all this. If there is a 14 day deadline for applications to appeal then how was this allowed? Also he pleaded guilty? What a waste of time and yet again our tax money.

  • Dianne - 2012-02-01 15:58

    Maybe somebody will give him a shank between the ribs, when he least expects it. Although I would like him to see it coming so that he can feel the fear that Leigh must have felt. He is an oxygen thief and does not deserve the privilege of sharing planet earth with us.

  • Norman - 2012-02-01 15:59


  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-02-01 16:09

    "I am satisfied that the applicant's version cannot be true. He is a self-confessed liar." Once you are a self confessed liar your are so screwed...guess you missed that class in the school for psycopafs?

  • Hallo - 2012-02-01 16:27

    He most likely deserves to be where he is now - but anyone who thinks he acted alone is foolish. Drug dealers were most likely involved, whether the Matthews family like it or not.

      Burton - 2012-02-02 09:09

      Hallo, he claims he feared for his family's life. So why bring it up now? What happened that he doesn't care now anymore? He just wants the attention and the spot light. As far as I am concerned he must stay right where he belongs, in prison!

  • regbroekmann - 2012-02-01 16:33

    If we say he must 'rot in jail' we are saying that it is OK to allow people to suffer and be killed 'under certain circumstances'. Moodley also thought it OK to kill 'under certain circumstances'. So while the circumstances differ (one legal and the other illegal), the outcomes are the same. What we need to do is acknowledge the tragedy of murder. We need to acknowledge the necessity of punishment. We should, as a society, be deeply saddened by both.

      Sinjoku - 2012-02-02 08:15

      @ regbroekmann : I am sorry but please could supply a better form of punishment. Would you rather have these kinds of low life, un-evolved, useless parasite, pond scum a punishment that entailed them watching my little pony in a constantly happy environment? wtf are you smoking. There should be no jails. If you do the crime you die period. The world is over populated as it is. No need for people like the afore mentioned to co-exist with decent law abiding people

      Robert - 2012-02-02 09:37

      @regbroekmann - We acknowledge that Moodley got the sentence he deserved based on all the evidence that was found. We acknowledge that the family members of Leigh Matthews will suffer forever due to this incident. so in fact if it were my daughter i would certainly not agree with your comment and i'm sure no-one is happy about the incident and even care about Moodley. Innocent until proven guilty - look where he is today.

  • Eddie - 2012-02-01 18:55

    Thank god this evil man has been put behind bars for good for what he has done.May the Matthews family carry on with there lives sadly without there daughter.Mr moodley every second in jail that you spend i hope you can think what the Matthews family was going throught when you did this hatred crime.You can my rot in jail for all i care.

  • Bernd - 2012-02-01 21:18

    To think that my taxes are paying for upkeep of this thing. Flip it.

  • Marshall - 2012-02-01 22:03

    Mampara of the year!

  • hannesw1 - 2012-02-01 22:25

    Moodley's only resolution now is to join the ruling party. There, loopholes such as medical parole can be organised for him.

  • reynard.j.debeer - 2012-02-02 03:40

    God bless Africa Raise high its glory Hear our prayers God bless us, her children God, we ask You to protect our nation Intervene and end all conflicts Protect us, protect our nation, our nation, South Africa — South Africa. Ringing out from our blue heavens, From our deep seas breaking round, Over our everlasting mountains, Where the echoing crags resound, Sounds the call to come together, And united we shall stand, Let us live and strive for freedom In South Africa our land.

  • colin.chester1 - 2012-02-02 07:54

    One up for the justice system

  • Jerome - 2012-02-02 07:58

    rot in hell you SOB moodley. Many rear end violations coming your way bud.

  • Michelle - 2012-02-02 08:19

    Good!!! he should be heading for the electric chair!

  • aardvarkie - 2012-02-02 09:25

    "I show no emotion seeing him hanged." is the title of the article in my wishful thinking world.

  • senny.tloubatla - 2012-02-02 11:16

    justice is served, finish n klaar,

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