'Where is Aunty Leigh and how did she die?' Leigh Matthews' 6-year-old niece asks

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Donovan Moodley
Donovan Moodley
PHOTO: Gallo Images/Foto24/Bongiwe Gumede
  • The family of Leigh Matthews was on Friday expected to motivate against the release of Donovan Moodley.
  • Moodley was given a life sentence for the murder of Matthews, but is being considered for parole after serving 15 years.
  • Matthews' mother says she is worried that Moodley will hurt her or her family should he be released.

The Johannesburg Prison was a hive of activity on Friday morning as the family of Leigh Matthews got ready to present oral representations as a part of the parole process of their loved one's killer, Donovan Moodley.

Rob and Sharon Matthews and their daughter Karen Hiddens were expected to motivate against Moodley's release.

Moodley was found guilty of kidnapping and murdering the 21-year-old student, and of extortion for demanding a ransom from her father.

Leigh Matthews
Leigh Matthews

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

Matthews' death made headlines when she was abducted in July 2004 from Bond University in Sandton, and to date, her family says that there are still unanswered questions about the tragedy.

READ | Leigh Matthews: Fear and shock as Donovan Moodley's parole process begins to unfold

In the written representations under the theme of the impact of the crime on the victim's family, it is revealed that Leigh's sister described how her six-year-old daughter had asked her: "Where is Aunty Leigh and how did she die?"

"How am I supposed to tell her that she was kidnapped murdered and that we only found her body 12 days later. In a country where gender-based violence has reached an all-time high, how am I supposed to 'rationalise' [a] response to my little girls?" writes Matthews' sister in the report.

In addition, the representations – seen by News24 – include a doctor's report which states that Hidden's mental and marital state would be "detrimentally affected by the knowledge that the perpetrator of her sister's murder be released from prison and deleteriously impact health parameters in the various areas of her life".

The report also notes that Matthews' mother Sharon is worried that Moodley will hurt her, or her family, should he be released.

Sharon wrote:

He at face value, he comes across as a likable individual. That facade, however, hides an individual that is capable of murder and carrying out his threat.

She further questions what protection will be made available to her and her family if Moodley is released.

"How do I know if he has been or even capable of rehabilitation? It was only in 2018 that he was still changing his story on the murder," she wrote.

The parole process is currently under way.

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